The house where we raised our children was, shall I say, less than nice. When we moved in, there were three different wallpapers in the same room, purple kitchen cupboards with pink sponge painting on them, (Gag!) and bathroom tile that looked like a three-year-old did it with lots and lots of glue! It was bad! We had to remove carpet from one of our daughter’s bedrooms and couldn’t afford to replace it so she had a plywood floor. Our bedroom was in the basement and had a cement floor. On top of all that, the house was olive green. Blech. It was just not a pretty house.
Over time we were able to paint the house, turn the seven-foot tall weeds into a decent yard, and paint the god awful purple and pink kitchen cupboards white. Wow, was that a job! We never could afford carpet while we lived there and there remained a lot of things that were not aesthetically pleasing about the house.
Even though our house was not pretty, people that would come to our house always commented on how “nice” our house was. I am pretty sure I managed a “thank you” after picking up my jaw off the floor each time!
I tried to figure out what it was that made people say that. It certainly wasn’t our super nice furniture! Although my mother in law’s hand-me-down 1970’s couch might have been cool once, it really wasn’t. It couldn’t be the beautiful artwork hanging on the walls that had been carefully selected from our exclusive GoodWill.
I am fairly certain that is was the feeling you got when you walked in our home and not the Thrift store curtains and well-overused second- hand piano that gave our guests that impression. It felt clean, peaceful and full of love.
I really struggled when we first moved there with all the work that needed to be done, the painting, the fixing, trying to make it look nice plus all the housework and laundry and cooking and homeschooling for a family of five. Then we took in a neighbor girl and we were a family of six! Family friends were struggling so I took on cooking and cleaning for them.
I struggled, it was hard, I did it, but my attitude was awful. I raised my voice at my kids when they didn’t do their chores in a timely manner. I complained to my husband about everything I had to do. I nagged him to do things. I was miserable and I was making my family miserable.
I remember one day saying “God, something has to change!” and in my head, I heard “yes, you do.” Uuughh……that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I knew it was right though. I said “ok, but you are going to have to help me!”
It was then that I came up with my mantra. “Make every room better, every time you are in it, even if it is just to smile.”. I repeat that over and over in my head as I move about my house. Now, I don’t know if smiling in an empty room really makes the room better, but I know it makes my attitude about cleaning and serving my family better!
When I began to do that, my heart started to change. Love gives. I wanted to serve and bless my family. I began to develop a system to keep our house clean without stress. It made such a difference in our home! It was then that people would comment on how beautiful our home was! It wasn’t just clean. It felt peaceful.
We can learn every trick in the book about cleaning and organizing and making things look nice, but if all we have is a clean house and a resentful attitude it will be felt. Your family will feel it, your guests will feel it.
“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,”
Isaiah 32:18 NKJV
I am far from perfect and I still have to pray and overcome a bad attitude now and then. I get tired, sometimes exhausted and need to remind myself that my time with my kids is short. It is my heart’s desire to bless my family as much as I can, as long as I can. To create happy, loving memories of a home with that “feeling”.
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.
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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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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Happy New Year Friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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 Pie Crust
Perfect flaky pie crust everytime!
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.
Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.
Psssst…… Wanna know a secret??! My house isn’t ALL that clean. You can’t eat off my floors, and my fridge is crowded and a lot of the baseboards are dirty. My desk has kids workbooks and coloring pages on it and there are clothes to be mended on top of my sewing table. We won’t talk about the garage.
We live here. I have a daycare here. There is a lot going on in this house at all times. If you are looking for how to keep your house looking like Martha Stewart’s house, this is the wrong place.
If you want a seemingly effortless tidy home without stress, I am so glad you are here!!
It took me a long time to start this blog because I was afraid of being judged and afraid people would expect me to have a perfect home if I talked about ways to clean your home and keep it clean. I finally went for it, but I want you to know… my house isn’t perfect! In fact, there may be a lot of people reading this that have a cleaner home than I do!
The point of this blog is to help you not have house cleaning rule your life. To do house KEEPING, not house CLEANING.
I will welcome you to my home at any time of the day. My house may have toys in the living room and kids everywhere but the dishes will be done and the bathrooms will be clean. It IS possible to have a clean and tidy home with kids!!
The kitchen is clean after breakfast!
All the toys are picked up before we head outside to play!
The blinds are probably dusty….. I will get there. That’s ok. My routines keep my house clean. When I have a moment, if all six kids are asleep at the same time, I may or may not clean the blinds. The important things are taken care of.
My house will always be moments away from company ready and I welcome you all but don’t expect it to pass a white glove test! It will be tidy and mostly clutter free and I won’t mind at all if you want to use my bathroom. The oven may need to be cleaned and crumbs in the silverware drawer. I have routines for that too and will get to it. I am not going to knock myself out to have everything done all the time and all at once and I don’t want you to either!
So, if you are looking for ways to have your blinds clean and the slider track look brand new, there are lots of blogs for that. I am just here to help you have a tidy home you don’t have to stress about and to teach you habits that make that happen so that you can enjoy the truly important things in life! I promise you, it IS possible!
Check out my routine page and set your Self Cleaning House in motion! Once those basic routines are in cement then we will move on to things like slider tracks and oven cleaning!
Right now, go do your daily routines and then go play with your kids and make some memories.
The kids are back in school! My granddaughter is in 2nd grade this year. Time sure flies! The first week of school is always really exciting and she is anxious to get up and be ready for school and out the door on time. After that, it starts to get…. a little less exciting. Establishing good routines that first week is super important, and then making sure that they keep it up is important too!
Teaching life skills is one of the most important jobs we have as parents.
Teaching routines, goal setting, and self-discipline sets your kids up for success!
Even though I know my routines inside out and backward, I, as an adult, still like checking each item off and feeling successful first thing in the morning.
It is just as important for our kids to feel that way! Having a list, chart, whiteboard or some other way for them to mark off completed items, helps them feel successful, helps them to know exactly what is expected of them, keeps you from having to tell them over and over to do each item and it teaches self-discipline. Giving them some things that are super simple, especially at a young age, helps them feel good because it is not overwhelming and they have that sense of satisfaction right away. “Look Mom! I already have two things checked off my list!” Even though those two things were get dressed and brush their teeth, we need to let them feel that sense of accomplishment. It will encourage them to achieve more for that good feeling and a good work ethic is born! That sets them up for success later in life!
It’s up to you if you want to reward them for doing chores or routines. My own personal opinion is that it is important to teach them to feel the satisfaction of a job well done and get praise and or appreciation from you, not money. No one pays me to clean my house, unfortunately! It would be much harder for me to have a good attitude about doing it for simply the satisfaction of having a clean home if I had learned that everything I do demands compensation to be worthwhile. It’s extremely important to remember to praise and thank your children for the jobs they do. Don’t forget that we are trying to teach them to feel good about a job well done.
That being said, I think it is a very good life lesson when kids are compensated for doing things above and beyond what is laid out and expected of them. Their routines and normal chores should be expected, but raking the yard or weeding the garden may be a great way for them to earn money for something they really want. Money, or whatever has been chosen as payment for tasks, is a great way to teach them about finances and is extremely motivating.
Here is an excellent short read from Dave Ramsey on this topic!
Take a moment to thank your child and praise him for making his bed or even brushing his teeth today and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back and really feel good about what you got done too! Good job!! You are teaching your kids habits that will benefit them for life!
I have been trying a new thing!! I had heard how great fermented veggies were for your gut health and digestion. I wanted to try it! I am always up for a new experiment. The first batch I did was Brussels sprouts. That was the only fresh veggie I had on hand. I wouldn’t recommend them! They were…ok. If you are a fan of raw Brussels sprouts then maybe you would like them. This batch I am very excited about! Cauliflower!
This is a picture on day 3. It is starting to get cloudy! That is just what it is supposed to do!
Fresh vegetable of choice:cauliflowercucumber, carrots, green beans, asparagus, radishes, whatever suits your fancy
1 1/2tablespoonsea salt
bay leaf, peppercorns, jalapenos, or other spices you want to use.
1leafcabbageor small ziplock baggie of rice
1wide mouth mason jar with lid
Stir the salt and water together until dissolved.
Pour the salt water over the vegetables leaving 1/2″ of headspace. Tap jar on counter and wiggle around to get rid of air bubbles and pockets.
Fold a small cabbage leaf and press it down on top of the vegetables so that it keeps the vegetables submerged in the salt water. or put a bit of rice in a snack ziplock bag removing all the air and place on top of vegetables to keep the vegetables submerged.
Close the lid on the jar tightly and place it out of direct sunlight in a relatively moderate temperature (68-75 degrees).
You will start to see some bubbling around day 2 or so. After day 2, over a sink (it will kinda fizz and leak as you begin to open it), gently loosen the lid to let some of the gas escape once or twice a day.
The vegetables are ready anywhere from day 4-10. The longer they sit, the tangier they’ll be. Taste them starting on day 4 to figure out your preference. I like them best around day 5 or so.
Once you decide they’re the level of sourness you’re looking for, place the jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for a couple of months.
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I have not been as consistent writing lately as I’d like. There are a lot of thoughts in my head to write about but life seems to get in the way. There are so many things that require my time and I start to feel like I don’t know which of the many things should be taking priority. Do you ever feel like that? When you truly do want to do the right thing, and none of the “things” are wrong or unimportant, in fact, they are all extremely important and you WANT to do them all, but you can’t possibly do them all, and you can’t NOT do them all.
I should write to my Dad, or even better send him an hour-long cassette tape of me rambling. He would like that. I know he won’t be here with us long.
I should organize a family event so everyone can see each other.
I should go to a friend’s birthday party.
I should help my mother clean her house and yard and do her laundry and have coffee with her.
I should read some books and take a few online courses to better myself and my passion.
I should sell things we no longer need to clean things out and produce a bit of money
I should spend time preparing crafts and activities for the kids.
We should go to a wedding shower and a wedding that is coming up.
We really should make time to go for dinner with friends.
I should exercise.
I should post quality content on my Facebook group.
I should work on the book I am writing
I should work on the household system I am putting together
I should dehydrate the box of apples sitting downstairs.
I should make salsa with those tomatillos.
I should post quality content on my blog!
I should organize my craft supplies so I know what I have to work with this fall.
I should spend time camping with my family, practicing what I preach!
Those are just some of the things that are flying around my brain, screaming for attention. Not to mention the day-to-day duties and chores that have to be done and mouths to feed.
Those are some of mine. Yours are different, but we all have our “shoulds”.
For me, all those things taking up constant thought seem to create mental constipation! It’s hard to decide which “should” I should be working on when I do have a minute. When I finally decide what to work on, I start on it and all the other things come flooding into my brain and yell at me that I should have chosen them instead! All those thoughts and “shoulds” get all tangled up and I feel like I am not getting anything done very well. My thoughts feel all stuck in my head and nothing flows out. It makes it hard to accomplish anything at all, much less all that needs to be done!
I can’t be the only one who feels this way at times, right? Normally I am pretty good at prioritizing and list making. I am not a “procrastinator” by nature. Lately, everything feels critical but I feel stuck and frozen.
I am grateful for the routines I have in place. During this time in my life of feeling a little “pulled six ways from Sunday”, it is so valuable to me to have a home where I can feel peace and order. That has helped me to stay grounded and gives me security. My routines are such habits that I don’t have to think about them. I do those on autopilot. My home has stayed clean and orderly which will help me to think clearly.
I can’t say I have figured out how to do all those things I talked about or even in which order. I did feel compelled to write about it today though.
I am not complaining. I am grateful to have family and friends, a business and a passion that require my time and attention! It’s a good challenge to have!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. Life gets pretty crazy sometimes! The best way to keep yourself on track, keep at least one foot on the ground, is by continuing to do your morning and evening routines. If your house stays semi-clean and tidy it will go a long way to keeping you calm and help you through those times! It lets you focus on what needs to be taken care of.
*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 if necessary
*Get something out for dinner
Before Bedtime Routine:
*Start the dishwasher
*Tidy up the living room, put shoes away etc.
*Check the calendar and weather
* Pick out clothes for the morning
*Wash, moisturize and go to bed on time!
Those routines will keep your house in order when you feel your life isn’t!
I have been craving these meatballs lately and when chicken breast was on sale at my local grocery store I knew I had to make them!
I love using my Kitchen Aid Mixer and when I get to use attachments it’s even better! The meat grinder is so much fun and easy to use!
Of course, you can buy chicken already ground at the store, but I enjoy doing it and it is much cheaper.
I use an ice cream scoop to make my meatballs. Makes it so much easier!
I found this recipe on Day Dream Kitchen. It is absolutely fantastic! The bright flavor of lemon zest and the interest of the fennel seed (which just MAKES it and you don’t want to leave it out!) and the ooey gooey fresh mozzarella on top is just incredible. I may have eaten one or two all by themselves! I served mine over spaghetti noodles and a good marinara and garnished with fresh basil. To die for!
Here is my version of Chicken Parmesan Meatballs. Be sure to check out Day Dream Kitchen for this and all the other amazing recipes they have!
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
3 pounds ground chicken
1/2 large onion, chopped finely or ground with the meat
4 cloves garlic, minced or whole ground with the meat
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 lemon zest (zest from one lemon)
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, whisked
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (24-ounce) can marinara sauce
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese cut into thin slices
Preheat oven to 400°F.
If grinding your own chicken, cut the chicken into strips that will fit into your grinder. Roughly chop the onion to fit as well. Put chicken, onion, garlic cloves, fennel seeds, and lemon zest through the grinder.
Using your hands gently mix in the bread crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper, eggs and olive oil.
If using chicken already ground, mix gently with your hands first 11 ingredients.
Form approximately 2-ounce meatballs, using either your hands or a 2″ scoop. Place on a foil or parchment covered baking sheet that has been sprayed with oil.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Remove meatballs from oven and cover each with a slice of cheese. Return meatballs to oven just long enough to melt the cheese.
Heat sauce in a small saucepan. Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions.
Serve meatballs on top of noodles and sauce garnished with fresh basil and more parmesan if desired.
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