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

The Crockpot List

composition cute design diary
Photo by Miesha Moriniere on Pexels.com

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
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

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
Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com

 

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Posted in camping, cleaning, Coeur d' Alene River, happiness, motivation, organizing

Minimal Stuff Makes Minimal Mess

My husband and daughter took a couple of weeks off for hunting. After a week of “camping in the fall” and not seeing anything, they came home. They are still hoping to get some day-hunts in before the end of the season!

My hubby, bless his heart, decided to be productive the last week of his vacation time and clean the garage! We clean the garage really well a couple of times of year. Isn’t it crazy how fast it can get disorganized again???

APhoto Credit: memes.com

This time we decided to really clean it out. Not just organize the “stuff ” but take a good hard look at what we have and decide if we really need it, if someone else could better benefit from it, is it replaceable, or is it trash?! We were brutally honest with ourselves. We made a “Trash” pile, a “Donate” pile and a very small “Sell” pile (that is a dangerous pile and you don’t want many things in that one or they will just be re-assimilated!) We also had a pile of “Things to return to others”.

We opened boxes, took things off shelves, pulled things out. We ended up with a truckload of things to go to the dump, a truckload to take to donate and a few things to sell. It felt AMAZING!!!

I honestly thought I would not come up with a lot to get rid of. I hate clutter. I don’t like a lot of “stuff”. Come to find out, I had a lot of crap I didn’t realize was crap!

Truly taking an honest look at what I had, was so freeing! I realized that a lot of things that I had been keeping, I was keeping out of fear. Fear that I would need it and not have it. Fear that if I did need it, I wouldn’t be able to afford to replace it. Fear that someone would be offended if I got rid of it. Well, kicking fear to the curb and thinking “If my house burned down, would I miss it? Would I be able to replace it? Would I buy another one? ” helped me to get rid of soooooo much!!

Getting rid of “stuff” is the only way to really have a self-cleaning house. Minimal stuff makes minimal mess.

I have started on a new “Crap crusade” in my closet and I am excited! I will keep you posted on that venture!

When you let go of stuff you unclog the positive flow and new and wonderful things can come into your life in many ways, not only just in your garage. When you hang on to too much stuff and things it clutters your mind and life, not just your home. Your life isn’t meant to be stagnant. By hanging on to old things, too many things and unnecessary things you are blocking the stream of abundance that belongs to you!

Remember when you were a kid or when you told your kids that they couldn’t have a new toy unless they got rid of one (or five!)? Yes!  Just like that!  Our life is supposed to be rewarded and blessed, but first…. you have to get rid of some stuff.

you can't reach for anything new

I encourage you to kick the fear, tell yourself that it’s ok to let go. Enjoy the amazing feeling of a clean uncluttered home, and the positive things that will come your way!

Go get rid of some stuff!!

 

Posted in cleaning, food, organizing, planning

September Is the New January

We have had some really HOT dry weather here in North Idaho.  The rain we had last week was a sweet relief!  The forest fires have been raging and the smoke has been thick in the air.  The last days of summer have been spent indoors in AC trying to stay cool and out of the smoke somewhat.

smoke

Today was a beautiful sunny day with cooler temperatures and blue sky that we could see!!   That rain just washed the sky!  It feels like fall is coming early.

With the beginning of fall comes school.  The return of early mornings and routines, homework, sports practices and earlier bedtimes.  Even if you aren’t in school or don’t have kids in school, it seems to be the perfect time to reorganize, plan, set goals, and make new routines.  Maybe its the copious amount of school supplies that you can’t avoid at Target and Walmart?

white blank notebook
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

Is anyone else obsessed with school supplies?  I am literally giddy walking through those isles this time of year!  All that fresh paper and index cards and folders and notepads!!   It feels like so much yet to be written.  So much hope and plans for things that haven’t happened yet.  A brand new start.  Fresh beginnings.  Ok, maybe that is just me?!

It is truly the perfect time to create new habits, and routines though.  You have the tools on sale all around you and the mindset is just there!  So take advantage of those magnetic whiteboards for your kids’ chore list.  Buy a new planner for next year.   Start a new habit using post-it notes to remind yourself.   Organize your housekeeping with index cards.

scrabble resolutions
Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

Make your “New Year’s Resolutions” this year in September!

Check out these articles on making this September your new January!

https://www.inc.com/gretchen-rubin/why-september-is-the-new-january.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tamiforman/2017/09/06/september-is-the-perfect-time-for-new-year-resolutions/#1d8202464235

September is the newJanuary

I have made these Chicken Burritos a few times.  I got the inspiration for them from “OMG Chocolate Desserts”.  Check them out!  They have some incredible other recipes as well!

https://omgchocolatedesserts.com/chicken-avocado-burritos/

Here is my take on this recipe! Super easy, few ingredients and oooohhh soooo good!!

Chicken Avocado Burritos

Serves:
12Yield:
12Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken shredded
3 tablespoons mustard
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce plus more for serving
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or Mexican blend cheese
2 avocados diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro divided
12 burrito sized flour tortillas
3/4 cup sour cream plus more for serving
salsa
safflower oil or peanut oil for frying

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl mix shredded chicken with mustard and hot sauce. Stir to evenly distribute. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cheese, cilantro, and diced avocado.
Warm the tortillas in damp paper towels in the microwave to make them pliable.
Spread 1 tablespoon sour cream on each tortilla, add 1/4 of the chicken mixture, form a roll with ends tucked in. Secure with toothpick.
Heat oil in deep fryer to 375* (You can pan fry, I just prefer to deep fry. Less messy.) Fry one at a time until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on a rack over a paper towel.
Serve on a bed of lettuce with sour cream, salsa, hot sauce and cilantro for garnish.
You can freeze uncooked burritos. Wrap individually in parchment and put in a freezer bag. Thaw before frying.

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!)

Mexican / Mexican

 

 

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Posted in cleaning, food, happiness, organizing, Tips and Tricks

Everything has a home and everything in it’s home

aromatherapy bloom blossom bright
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of the most consistent things you will see in a clean home is that everything has a home and everything is in it’s home.

You can have a disheveled room and pick up and have it clean in just minutes if everything has a place to live.

If an item has no place to live, it is wandering aimlessly around the house from one flat surface to another feeling out of place and awkward.

homeless

Imagine how that whatchamacallit you ordered from Amazon must feel.  It got ripped from a shelf, shut into a box and thrown into a truck. After a few rough rides, air turbulence, conveyor belts and another truck ride,  it landed at your front door hoping for a warm welcome and a good home.  Alas, it’s been moved from coffee table to kitchen counter to dining table, never really fitting in.  All it wants is a real home.  A place where it belongs.  Have a heart!  Find your whatchamacallit a home!

Everything in it's home

In all seriousness, establishing where something will live eliminates frustration when cleaning, it also helps prevent procrastination.  As a bonus, you will always know where something is when you need it!  Which also means you can delegate when necessary because you know where things are!

Next time you bring something into the house, think about where it’s forever home will be and put it there.   NOT a temporary home on the dresser for now.

You can have a clean home for a hot minute without a home for everything but it won’t be that way for long.  An organized home has a home for everything.

Making sure nothing is left homeless will save time cleaning, make your home more stress-free and allows you to do more of what YOU want to do!

clean home

We are in the middle of summer here in North Idaho, but I am already looking forward to fall!  I love fall!  The cool crisp air, the beautiful leaves, the boots, scarves and pumpkin spice lattes!  Yup, I am that girl.

Apples are another of my fall favorites.  We go apple picking at a local farm every year. Our whole family goes together. Hot fresh apple cider warms your hands while you stand in line for the pumpkin doughnuts, the aroma alone is worth standing in the long line.  Local vendors are selling their homemade goods.  Kids scream with delight at the bounce houses and beg to get their faces painted.  Wonderful memories are made there!

apple box

So when I stopped in a roadside fruit stand and found Honey Crisp Apple for $12.95 for a giant box I had to get them!  I can’t wait to go pick them myself but just couldn’t pass them up at that price.  So let the apple cooking, baking, eating begin!

apple peeler

One of the first things I did was make a fresh apple cake.  Seriously one of my favorite “apple” things!

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I peeled four apples.  I needed four cups of apples but these things are the size of my head so I ended up with eight cups!  I put the other four cups in a ziplock bag with a couple teaspoons of Fruit-Fresh and some water and put them in the fridge for something else.

Keep your apples from turning brown!

I used my really cool apple peeler/corer to peel the apples.  Super easy and fast!

all done

Yummy!!!! Warm with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is the way to go!

1 cup butter or shortening
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups flour
4 cups chopped apples
Topping
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter melted
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and brown sugar together. Blend in eggs. In a small bowl combine salt, soda, cinnamon, and flour. Stir into shortening/sugar mixture. Fold in apples. It will be very thick. Put in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Combine melted butter and sugar and sprinkle over top. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake in a 350 F oven for 50 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick.
Serve warm or room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

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!)


DVO



 Click on this picture to order Fruit Fresh from Amazon!  This stuff is great! I cut up apples for my husband’s lunch, put a little Fruit Fresh in a ziplock bag and some water, add the apples and shake!  No brown apples!

 This apple peeler/corer is a huge time saver!  You can even peel potatoes with it!!  WOW!  Click on the picture to order!

Posted in cleaning, food, organizing

Smile!!

Years ago as I was going through my house tidying up, this phrase popped into my head and it has been my motto ever since.  “Improve every room you are in, each time you are in it, even if it’s just a smile.”

smile emoji

I say that over and over in my head all the time as I move throughout my house.  It just stuck.  It might be silly, but yes, sometimes I just smile in a room all by myself.

I fluff the couch pillows and set them straight.  I straighten the shower curtain when I am in the bathroom or wipe the toast crumbs off the counter when I get a drink.

Sometimes I look around and don’t see anything right off that needs attention so I just smile and mentally bless my home!

“Improve every room you are in, each time you are in it, even if it’s just a smile.”

smile flower

My favorite way to clean the shower is with a cloth and some body wash or shampoo while I am IN the shower.  It is a million times easier, you are already in there and already wet! I do that at least once a week and my shower never looks dirty.  I do, however, like to use a good shower cleaner to really get a good clean and get the water spots off every few weeks.   This is the best one I have found.  I have used several and I have been happiest with the Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Foam! Click the link or the picture to purchase on Amazon.  When you do you are helping to support me at no extra cost to you! Thanks!

I made banana bread this week.  Yummy!  It hasn’t exactly been baking weather but I had 4 brown polka dot bananas left from the week before and I just couldn’t in good conscience leave them there!  I didn’t have any walnuts or pecans but I did have some chocolate chips that I threw in there instead.  I must say it may become a thing now!!

Have a happy weekend and don’t forget to improve every room you are in, if only just to smile!

smile

“>Click here to check out the awesome program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:

by Elizabeth

3-4 very ripe bananas
4 eggs
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup broken walnuts or Pecans (opt)
brown sugar
cinnamon
sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
Grease 3 small loaf pans or 2 small loaf pans and a muffin pan. Sprinkle the bottom of the pans with brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon.
In a blender, puree bananas, eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat shortening and gradually add sugars. Stir in banana mixture. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt blend into batter. Add walnuts if desired. Divide between the prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops with more brown sugar, cinnamon, and sugar.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Muffins, depending on size will bake 40-50 minutes. Check with toothpick for doneness.

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!)


DVO


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Posted in cleaning, organizing, spiritual, Tips and Tricks

The Science Behind Clutter

I can feel it staring at me. In the kitchen, the office, the bedroom closet.  Every room I enter it is there.  Glaring at me, threatening to overtake my home, to suffocate me and make me it’s slave.  I make my way down to the laundry room searching for an escape from it but it has grown and I  feel even more helpless to escape its clutches.  I am too afraid to open the pantry door.  The walls seem to be caving in, the rooms shrinking!  The clutter has taken on a life of its own!!!! Panic attack!

hide

It started in a seemingly innocent way.  I was just going to put that box of old photos away somewhere but I needed to find a place first.  This is a really neat bag, I might need this for something.  I might need all those old towels someday…I will file that paperwork later…I might want to pick up cross stitch again someday in my spare time.  I will just put the cans in the pantry and shut the door really fast.

I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately by all the “stuff”  we have collected.  It sneaks up on you, doesn’t it?? I swear I didn’t see it coming.  It seems to multiply and we don’t even notice.  I start to walk by the piles of things and shut them out.  I become blind to the stacks of things on the counter, the overdue library books by the door, the neighbor’s cookie plate on top of the fridge.  They become like furniture, it’s just there.  It gets easier to set things down on the piles or just in the general area of an item’s home rather than actually put it in its home.

Then one day, you notice.  You go from room to room with eyes wide open. Your palms sweat,  the clutter seems to mock you. You feel helpless and confused.  How did this happen??

It’s called “Entropy”.  Entropy is the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  It states that everything goes from a state of order to disorder.  It is the natural tendency of things to lose order.

Without countermeasures, life will always become less structured.

barn

Without care the lawn dies and weeds crop up, cars rust, barns collapse, pantries become unorganized, garages become a mess, marriages crumble, families fall apart.

Entropy increases over time. The state of something will continue to decline without effort on our part to restore order.

So, why doesn’t the junk drawer stay organized? It’s science!

The good news is we CAN combat entropy. In fact, God put us here to do that!

Genesis 2:15  “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”

God expects us to put out the effort to keep our home, our land our cars, our space in general, in good order.

Here is an “Anti-Entropy, Anti-Panic attack”  list:

  1.  Always do your morning and evening routines
  2. Don’t put it down, put it away
  3. Have a “home” for everything
  4. Do you REALLY need it, want it, love it?  If not, get rid of it. Don’t set it down.
  5. Be present.  Pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t walk over the same gum wrapper on the garage floor for a week.  Pick it up and throw it away.

Now, since I have been slacking on my own advice and the clutter is leering at me, I am going to go on an anti-entropy quest!

Click here to get the awesome program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!


Homemade Mexican Pizza

Servings 8

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
cornmeal
Pizza:
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup water
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1/4 cup salsa
1 can sliced black olives
1/4 cup diced red onion
crushed tortilla chips
1 pound pizza cheese blend
shredded lettuce
diced tomato
sour cream
jalapeño pepper
hot pepper sauce

Directions:

Put water and oil in the bottom of the bread machine. Put dry ingredients on top. Start on “dough setting”. When it’s done turn onto a floured surface and knead to deflate it. Divide into two equal pieces. Let it rest for 10 minutes. The second ball of dough can be frozen at this point for future use. Roll and stretch the dough and form it on a pizza peel that is heavily dusted in cornmeal.
Place pizza stone in oven and heat to 500* for 30 minutes.
Saute ground beef until no longer pink and drain. Add taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water. Simmer until water has evaporated.
Mix refried bean with salsa and stir until smooth and spreadable. Gently spread over prepared pizza dough.
Top with seasoned meat, olives, red onion, crushed chips and then cheese.
Turn oven down to 425*
Carefully slide the pizza off pizza peel onto the hot pizza stone.
Bake for 10-15 minutes watching closely.
Remove the pizza using the pizza peel.
Serve with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, jalapeno, and hot sauce.

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!)


DVO

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This cool ottoman/toy chest/storage chest is just the thing I need for scarves, hats, gloves, and umbrellas in my entryway!  Click on the pic to order!

Look at this totally adorable water bottle!  My granddaughter is really into unicorns! She also likes to steal my stainless steel water bottle because the water stays so cold!  So I think this is just what she needs!

Posted in cleaning, food, organizing, Tips and Tricks

Hope for the “Less than Organized”

I have a confession to make.  I am not your born organized, super OCD, perfectionist.  I have always said that I am a “perfectionist wannabe”.   I WANT everything to be organized and pretty, but with an in-home daycare, a big family, homeschooling my kids, always doing some side job, etc., it has always been a struggle for me.   My brain NEEDS it to be clean and tidy to think clearly and not be stressed, but it doesn’t come naturally to me.

I am a hard worker and I have always tried hard to keep a clean home no matter how much I had on my plate, but then I would see other people’s homes and realize just how NOT clean and organized mine was.

Some people are born into the world organized!  My youngest daughter, Aimee, is one of those.  She was organizing her shoes instead of napping when she was two! Do you know how hard it is to scold a child for not taking her nap when she just lined up all her shoes perfectly and her room is clean?  She was charging her older sisters to clean and organize their closets by the time she was three!  (Young entrepreneur!)

aimee's closet

This is Aimee’s hall closet.  See what I mean??  She used dollar store bins and labeled everything with her pretty handwriting!  It’s a thing of beauty!  I won’t show you mine.  It is semi-organized with cardboard boxes and some plastic ones marked with my label maker. My towels are not lined up perfectly, my boxes and baskets are overflowing and there is just way too much stuff in there.

That picture right there inspires me! It can also make me frustrated with myself.  I used to let things like that bother me, I still struggle with that.  I would compare myself to others and beat myself up for not being that good.  I still want to improve myself and my home and my organizational skills daily but I am really working to not beat myself up!  I don’t want you to either.  We are a work in progress!

Comparison is the theif of joy.--Theodore Roosevelt1

I use routines that I have made into ingrained habits that keep my house pretty clean.  I still have a long way to go in the organizing and “closets that look like art” department,  but I’m working on it!  I often feel like I am not qualified to write this blog,  I am so far from having a “perfect home” but I know I have something to share with you.  Ways that I have found to maintain some order in a chaotic life!

So, the take away from this:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others and beat yourself up.
  2. Let those more organized inspire you
  3. Make morning and evening routines a habit
  4. There is hope if you weren’t born with the “Clean Gene”

If you liked this blog please share it with your friends and be sure to enter your email address so that you can receive notifications via email when there is a new post!

Have you ever made homemade croutons?  They are delicious!  Yes, dried bread that is delicious!  If you think about it, why BUY dried bread that isn’t really that good when you probably already have everything you need to make a whole bunch of super yummy croutons for your salads this summer!

Click here to get the awesome program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!


Croutons

1 loaf cubed bread It can be random types of bread you have left over. Just fill a baking sheet.
1 cube butter, melted
Italian seasoning
Johnny’s garlic and herb seasoning

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put bread cubed on a baking sheet. Pour melted butter over all. I hold the cup up kind of high so it is a small stream and doesn’t all go in one spot. Liberally shake Italian seasoning and garlic herb seasoning over bread. Stir with a pancake spatula, kind of turning it over. Shake on a bit more seasoning. Bake for 15 minutes at a time. After every 15 minutes, take out and “stir” again. Sometimes it takes an hour sometimes only 45 minutes. You can tell by how dark it is getting. Let them sit out on the counter for several hours before storing. Try not to eat them all before they make it to a ziplock bag!

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!)


DVO

QuantcastCheck out this adorable picnic basket!  Isn’t it just the cutest?!  It’s insulated too!  I am going to use it for my daycare.  I am going to pack our water bottles, snacks, and wipes in it when we spend the mornings playing outside.  Click on the picture to order it on Amazon and when you do, at no extra cost to you I get a little kickback.  Thank you for supporting me!

This cool shelf is going in my laundry room.  It will fit perfectly and will nicely hold baskets, detergents, extra towels and cleaning supplies.  Click on the picture to order from Amazon!

Posted in cleaning, family, food, organizing, planning, Tips and Tricks

Twenty reasons to keep your house clean

list

I love lists.  I love making lists, reading lists, marking off things on lists.  I make lists in my head all the time but they need to make it to paper or device quickly or I am sure to forget something.  I guess that is why I like them. They give me a sense of security and peace.

I thought I would give you a list today!  Just a fun list of twenty reasons to keep your house clean.

1,  A clean house is peaceful

2.  You can find things in a clean home.

3.  Your home is a reflection of you.

4.  You can truly relax in a clean house.

5.  You can think more clearly in a clean environment.  (Your brain has to process everything you see whether you realize it or not.  Like a program running in the background on your computer. It still takes up memory.)

6. A clean house is healthier, fewer bacteria and germs.

7.  A clean house attracts fewer insects and pests.

8.  You will always be prepared for company, or close to it.

9.  You don’t trip over things in the dark.

10.  If the house caught fire, you could easily get out or First Responders could easily get to you.

11.  If you get the stomach flu, at least the toilet is clean!

12.  You make better diet and exercise choices in an uncluttered space.

13.  People enjoy coming to your house.

14.  You enjoy friends coming to your home.

15.  You enjoy coming home to your house.

16.  Your kids like bringing their friends over.

17.  You can have “me time” guilt free.

18.  You are more apt to remember things.   Cluttered house=cluttered mind.  (See #5)

19.  You can be proud of your home.

20.  You and your family deserve it!

finn

I can’t resist sharing this little thing right here!  Seriously….how cute is he?!  He is our new little ball of fur and absolute adorable terror.  It is a good thing God made them so cute!  I mean, you can’t resist that adorable little face and his sweet little purr, until 3am and he is sticking his needle-sharp claws in your nose and wants to play!

Finn video.GIF

His name is Finn and we are in love!

I hope you all have an amazing Memorial Day Weekend!  Go out and make memories!

 

 

 Be sure to click here to get the awesome Cook’n program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!

Chicken Parmesan with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Serves:
4

 

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 (20-ounce) jar good marinara sauce
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
fresh basil leaves torn
1/2 pound angel hair pasta or penne

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix Italian bread crumbs with panko in a large dish.
Place a baking rack on a baking sheet and spray it with pan spray.
Slather each chicken breast with mayo and dredge in breadcrumbs and panko. Put breasts on the prepared baking rack.
Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 155*. Take out and let rest.
Warm the marinara.
Cook pasta according to package instructions and drain.
Top each chicken breast with fresh mozzarella. Turn oven to broil and return chicken to oven and watch carefully until cheese starts to melt.
To serve, place pasta on the plate pour sauce over. Place chicken breast on top and top with fresh basil.

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!)

 

 

Chicken Breast Recipes / Chicken Breast Recipes

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in cleaning, family, food, organizing, planning, Tips and Tricks

Work Smart, Not Hard

This was a lot of work.  It was a labor of love. Nothing good comes without some hard work.  If you ask my granddaughter or daycare kiddos, this playset is VERY good!  They are delighted.  This is going to bring hours of happiness and memories.

swing set collage

Work is a good thing!  A good work ethic is something to be admired, rewarded and something we strive for in our place of employment and at home.  God made us to need to work.  We would be very unfulfilled without work.  God worked!  God worked for 6 days when he made the earth and then He rested.  Do I think He needed to rest? Nope.  Not at all.  God made us in His image so I believe He was simply showing us how to pattern our lives.   We need to have a balance in our lives between work, rest and play.

work smart

Work doesn’t stop when you clock out.  It just changes form. There is no getting around the fact that there is work involved in a clean house.  Good habits and routines will drastically reduce the amount of housekeeping that has to be done, but let’s face it, the vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing toilets still have to happen.

I am going to share some tips with you to help you work smart, not hard, to get that work done and still have time for rest and play.

 

team

Enlist help. Like my husband did with the swing set, get the family to help you Kids, even little ones can help.  The bigger ones definitely should help! Your children need to learn to work. It’s a life skill they will appreciate learning! (Eventually!) They need to learn how rewarding a “job well done” is.  How nice it feels to have a clean room and how proud you feel of your home when it is clean.  I, personally, don’t feel that rewards or allowance for doing household chores is beneficial.  I don’t get paid to clean my house.  The reward comes from feeling good about the job you did.  Teach them to take the time to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

 

fun

2. Make it fun.  Whether it is just you or the whole family involved in cleaning, make it fun! Make it a good time rather than drudgery.  If you hate it, your family will pick up on that.  Why would they want to help do something that is clearly a terrible thing?  Fake it till you make it if you have to! Put on some music dance with the broom, sing loud and silly!  Do whatever it takes to make it fun.

When my kids were elementary school age,  we made it a game.  I wrote every chore that needed to be done on an index card. I broke the chores down into very specific things.  “Clean upstairs bathroom tub”,  “Clean downstairs bathroom toilet”, “Mop kitchen”, etc.  The index cards were placed upside down on the kitchen table and mixed up.  A bell was in the middle of the table.  We all gathered around the table.  I would ring the bell and start a stopwatch.  We all grabbed a card and ran to do the chore on our card as fast as possible.  When the chore was done it was placed in a discard pile, you got to ring the bell and then grab another card. It was wild and hilarious! I am sure we looked ridiculous running like crazy people through the house, breathless,  tripping over the vacuum, running into each other, the bell ringing loudly and often.  The person with the last card got to make crazy noise with the bell and stop the stopwatch.  Housekeeping got done in generally less than twenty minutes! Crazy, right?  And it was FUN!  It may not have been done perfectly but it was done, everyone was happy and we could go spend our day doing something really fun and come back to a clean house.

calendar

3. Break it up.  Everyone’s life looks a little different.  For some doing a housekeeping game on Saturday morning with the family will work.  Now that my kids are adults, I have the housekeeping responsibilities myself.  I do not want to spend my Saturday cleaning all alone.  I choose to break up my chores and do one or two each day before or after work.  The things that may take longer I do on days that I usually have more time or more energy. Most things really don’t take all that long.  It always remains the same so I always know what day I am doing what.  Monday is laundry and vacuuming, Tuesday is bathroom day.  I clean the toilet, the tub and take out the trash and wash the bath towels. Wednesday is sweeping and mopping the house and menu planning.  Thursday is the kitchen and some miscellaneous things. I take Fridays to do anything I may not have been able to get done during the week or just take the day off!  That is just an example. You know your life and how that might look for you.

pays

4. Do It Weekly.  Don’t procrastinate and wait until you stick to the kitchen floor and the tub has a nasty ring around it.  Do it while it still looks clean!  It is so easy to clean a fairly clean tub in comparison to the full aerobic work out to clean a yucky one.  It is house “keeping”  rather than the house “cleaning”.   The goal is to maintain, not struggle to clean what is already dirty.  This saves a major amount of time!

hard work

We had some AMAZING Chicken Gyros the other night!  I love Gyros and love the traditional lamb, but these were a great switch and super light. Perfect for a summer evening on the patio with a wine spritzer and family to share it with.

Speaking of wine spritzers, if you haven’t had these, you should! YUM!

spritzers

Barefoot Refresh. Delish!

Here is the link to the Chicken Gyros.  We grilled them outside instead of baking in the oven.  Was fantastic!

Go check out a Bitchin’ Kitchen!

Chicken Gyros

Chicken Gyro

 

Please check out the program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!  I couldn’t do life without it!

Cook’n is an amazing tool!

Memories being made right here…..

brooklyn cutie

 

 

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, Tips and Tricks

Less is Best!

We went camping last weekend!!  Yes, it rained and possibly snowed just a bit.  It was cold and wet, but we went camping!! I am just a little excited that the camping season is upon us.  At least for us crazy diehards, it is.  We did go to our State Park where we had electric hookups.  We didn’t go all survivor style or anything.  We just needed to get away for a couple of nights and have some nature therapy.

camping

I love the fresh air, the dirt, the grass, the trees and walks in the rain and roasting marshmallows.  Most of all I love the memories we are making.  Memories are what holds families together.  Memories will be what’s left when we are gone.

puddles

I want to give my family a clean, organized home that is a comforting safe place to be and leave them memories that will live on long after I am gone.  I know that sounds like having your cake and eating it too!  How do you have time to make memories if you are keeping a clean and organized home?

I know for me, personally, I had a tough time trying to balance cleaning and laundry and cooking with spending time with my kids.  I loved reading to them and baking with them and working on schoolwork together,  but it was hard to do when I had so much that had to be done!  I knew that there had to be a better way.

I have spent years developing that “way”!  Thinking it out and perfecting my system.  I wish I could have had my ducks in a row when my kids were really young.  I hope they knew I was trying! It is my goal and passion to pass what I have learned on to you!

Breaking down household chores into little bits and doing those little bits each day, establishing habits that are seemingly effortless, and eliminating excess, creates what is the “Self Cleaning House”.

Eliminating things that create clutter helps to cut down your workload and keeps your house tidy.  More is NOT better.  Less is best! For example, I HATE dusting!  The best way I avoid doing this job is simple.  I just don’t have things that need to be dusted.  I am a minimalist when it comes to knickknacks and decorations.  Having very few “things” makes a room look more open, less cluttered and just simply beautiful.  It makes it easier to tidy up and much easier to do the dreaded dusting.  Less “stuff”, even if its pretty “stuff” gives the illusion of a much more tidy home.

 

dust

We get used to seeing our stuff.  It becomes like furniture.  It’s just there.  Even if we don’t like it, it just sits there and pretty soon we don’t see it anymore!  Do yourself a huge favor this week and take a close look around.  Walk into your home and pretend you are a guest.  Look at everything with fresh eyes.  What do you see?  What do you like?  What don’t you like?  What looks out-of-place or outdated or just blah…?  Then gather all those things up and take them immediately to your local St. Vincent’s or another thrift store you choose to support.  Don’t stick them in the garage or closet just creating more junk to clean around.  Be rid of the stuff!!   Just say NO to stuff!

Dusting a flat surface takes very little time.  I still don’t enjoy it but at least it doesn’t take long.  Less time doing housework equals more time with your family and more memory making!  Get rid of some stuff and go do something you love!