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

 

 

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Posted in cleaning, food, Tips and Tricks

Mountains or Molehills

Guess what I did today!!!!!!!  I hung towels on the line!  Did you expect something a little more exciting?  Ok, I may be a bit crazy for being so enthusiastic about a chore most people don’t even do anymore.  I will admit, it is a bit odd.  I just love the smell that you can only get from clothes hung outdoors.  No dryer sheet can give you that! I like that I can save money hanging clothes and it is a really good excuse for me to get to go outside.   It is a very relaxing job really.   Not only that, but it means that spring is actually here!

Untitled design (27)

Which means….. I planted flowers too!  I like the cheery colors I chose this year.  Yellow, orange and bright pink.   MarigoldsKalanchoe, and pink petunias.  Nothing like getting your hands in the dirt to make you feel close to nature and at peace in your soul.  It is such a great feeling!

hanging flowers.jpg

An article in “Modern Farmer” by Anna Brones entitled “Does Dirt Make You Happy?” suggests that dirt is an antidepressant, an immune booster and suppresses inflammation in the body.   I am all for that!  No wonder Spring feels so good! Go outside and get your hands dirty and come back to a clean house.   The outside dirt is such a wonderful thing but the “dirt” in our homes, not so much!

flower pot.jpg

I used the bathroom downstairs today.  I don’t use that bathroom very often.  I keep it clean but I don’t actually use it much.  I happened to notice the baseboard given my position. ummmmmm….ewwwwww.  The bathroom is uncluttered and clean but sometimes something like a nasty dirty baseboard can make a whole room look gross.  I am NOT a detailed person.  I am just not.  I can keep a whole house looking clean and tidy but when it comes to the little things I really have to work to get those done. It doesn’t just come naturally.   I know this about myself so instead of waiting, I went and grabbed an old toothbrush, cleaner, and a rag right away.  I looked at my watch. 2:14pm.  I sprayed the whole baseboard along the longest wall.  I started scrubbing at the end where I had started spraying.  I scrubbed, sprayed, wiped.  I also scrubbed the floor where it met the baseboard.

Right here I am going to interrupt myself to recommend that you NEVER use a sponge mop.  Just don’t do it!  I can’t think of anything more disgusting than spreading around the nasty grossness that never comes out of a sponge all over your house.  Sick.  If you must use a Swiffer type mop, fine, not as bad but don’t use it all the time. You don’t want to be pushing ickies to the edges of the room.  Use an actual mop that you can twist and wring out and replace the mop head now and then.  It will not leave you with gunk in the corners so much or be spreading nasty bacteria.  I also spray my mop with Clorox Cleanup after rinsing it when I am done.  I hang it to dry between uses.

Ok, back to the baseboard… I got the one wall done and decided to keep going.  The others were shorter although maybe even dirtier.  All done!  I looked at my watch.  2:19. FIVE MINUTES guys!!!  Five minutes to do a nasty job that doesn’t get done often but made the whole bathroom look way cleaner!  That is my proud moment for this week!  We can get so much more done in five minutes than we think we can.  We build those things up in our minds and make mountains out of molehills!

Go conquer some molehills friends, and get your hands in the dirt outside too! Spring is here!

molehill

Since spring is here that means its time to change up that menu!  Move over soup and casserole!  Salad and BBQ are ready for their turn.

I am going to leave you guys with my famous potato salad recipe.  I promise you it’s the best darn potato salad you’ve ever had and you will have people begging for the recipe!  Just be sure to tell them where you got it!

Here is the link to get the program I use for all my recipes and menu planning! Please Check it out!
E’s Potato Salad

E’s Potato Salad

Serves:
12 

 

Ingredients:

3 pounds red potatoes diced
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 bunch green onions sliced
1 pound bacon cooked, drained and crumbled
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon dill weed
2 tablespoons pickle juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
chives for garnish

Directions:

In a stock pot cover potatoes with cool water. Toss in about a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Boil for 15-18 minutes, checking for doneness with a fork. Don’t overcook, you don’t want mashed potato salad. While potatoes are cooking stir together remaining ingredients, except garnish. When potatoes are done, drain and rinse with cold water. Gently stir potatoes into the mixture. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with chives and more paprika if desired.

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Salads / Salads

 

 

 

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!

 

Posted in cleaning, family, food, Tips and Tricks

Welcome Spring!

easter

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!  I hope you all took time to thank our God for allowing His Son to die and rise again that we can be forgiven and be allowed to someday be in His presence.  The Bunnies and the chocolate are so fun but I never want to lose sight of the reason for the celebration!

jesus

We had a fairly quiet Easter.  My husband was working, as per usual on Sundays.  My oldest was sleeping because she works nights. My youngest and her husband spent time in the afternoon with his Mom.

My middle daughter and my granddaughter and I went to church in the morning and then we went to our neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.  There is a great little cafe in the park across the street from us, Chomper Cafe. They put on a great egg hunt and had cookie painting. They even provided pies, lemonade, and coffee.  The hot coffee was a big hit with the parents.  BRRRR!!!  North Idaho Easter is not your typical sunny spring day.  Around here we pick out a parka to go with our Easter dress.

Easter signals Spring! I love spring.  I love the fresh feeling and the clean smelling air.  It is a sign of new beginnings and hope.  It’s time to start fresh! It also means spring cleaning!!  No groaning… I don’t want you to spend a week in sweats and rubber gloves slaving away.

570bc37441c099f88b8c703fbba7ef0f-spring-quotes-spring-renewal-quotes-e1507164654569-300x282

“Happiness spring – cleans the heart.” ~ Japanese Proverbs 

 

seaon-of-rebirth

Here are 7 tips for spring cleaning without getting overwhelmed!!

  1. Never do anything that will take you longer than 30 minutes at a time.  If it is a huge project, break it down.
  2. You can do more in 30 minutes that you think you can. Don’t over complicate it.
  3. Wash all the bedding and hang it outside.  The spring air is the best laundry freshener!
  4. Buy a new shower curtain liner!  Instantly makes the bathroom fresher.
  5. Your dishwasher, it needs to be cleaned!  Dump in a half a cup of bleach and run a full cycle or try a dishwasher cleaner.
  6. When you clean your oven, put foil on the bottom that you can replace when it is dirty. (only if you have an electric oven) Self-cleaning is really hard on your oven so I try not to clean it too often.  Cleaning the oven in the future will be a breeze!
  7. Throw open the windows and let the spring air in!  It will do wonders for your home and you!

 

Cheering-Spring-Quotes-for-Good-Mood-3

 

I have tried some really awesome new recipes in the last week that I am excited to share with you!  I found an interesting twist on Chicken Pot Pie in my Taste of Home Magazine.  Chicken Pot Pie is like the all time comfort food.  It may be spring, but like I said, around here, it is still cold!  I am going to use every little bit of this chilly spring to make comfort food before we are grilling and making salads in ninety-degree weather.

This “Chicken Pot Pie” is simple and almost rustic, you could say.  It is open face instead of the traditional top crust.  I think its simplicity is beautiful!

galette

The original recipe at Taste of Home can be found here.

Despite the cold, my brave oregano plant had plenty of new growth to offer up for this dish!  I love being able to walk outside and cut my own fresh herbs.

herbs1

This is the link to my awesome recipe and menu planning program!

Here is my version of this fantastic recipe.

 


Chicken Potpie Galette with Cheddar-Thyme Crust Recipe

Servings 6

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:

 

1 1/4 cup 1-1/4 all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup ice water
filling:
3 tablespoons butter
2 large carrots, sliced
1 celery rib, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

 

 

Yield: 6 servings

Directions

Combine flour, cheese, thyme, and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add ice water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Shape into a disk; refrigerate 1 hour.
For filling, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion; cook and stir until slightly softened 5-7 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 2-3 minutes. Add frozen peas.
Whisk together broth, flour, salt, and pepper; slowly pour over vegetables, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add cream. Stir in chicken and oregano.
Preheat oven to 400°. On a floured sheet of parchment paper, roll dough into a 12-in. circle. ( I found this to be tricky and needed an extra pair of hands to hold the parchment paper) Be sure to roll it quite thin. Transfer to a baking sheet. Spoon filling over pastry to within 2 in. of edge. Fold pastry edge over filling, pleating as you go, leaving center uncovered. Don’t worry about making it look fancy!
Bake on a lower oven rack until crust is golden brown and filling bubbly, 30-35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 6 servings.

Originally published as Chicken Potpie Galette in Taste of Home April/May 2018

Source: tasteofhome.com

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, family, food, organizing, planning, Tips and Tricks

Tips for Trips

We had a super busy weekend.  Granddaughter Brooklyn had an Ice Skating Competition in Montana.  It was a great excuse to have a weekend away!  Sometimes you really need a three-day weekend to recharge.  We got to stay in a pretty nice hotel, go swimming in the pool, sit in the hot tub and enjoy some good food as well as watch some amazing skaters!

Brooklyn did great!  We are so very proud of her.  Her dedication really shows.  She is going to need a whole closet for her medals soon! She was pretty wiped out on the trip home.  She worked hard!

Since we were in Missoula, we had to stop at Wheat Montana Farms & Bakery.  I use their flour and oat cereal exclusively for my bread, baking, and granola.  It’s great stuff!!  I can’t purchase it in fifty-pound bags locally so whenever we are anywhere near Missoula we stop in and buy it there.

flour

It had been quite a while since I had been away for a weekend but my inner checklist for what to do before leaving kicked in.  Doing these few simple things before leaving not only gives you peace of mind while you are away but makes coming back so much easier!

*The day before you leave be sure you are caught up on laundry.  You are going to have plenty when you get back.

*Plan what you are going to have for dinner the day you get back.  You will have just spent money all weekend going out and the last thing you want to do is spend more money on pizza your first night home.

*The day you leave run the dishwasher and empty it. Don’t leave any dishes in the sink.

*Make sure there is nothing in the washer or the dyer.  If there are clothes in the washer they will get sour and if there are clothes in the dryer they will be wrinkled.

*Tidy up and make the beds.

*Make sure the animals are taken care of.

*Close the blinds and turn down the thermostat.

*Turn off the lights, leaving one on.

*Lock the doors.  Make sure someone else has a key in case of emergency.

I went through all these things before leaving for the long weekend.  Our cats are used to us being away for a couple days a week in the summers and they are usually fine.  This time, however, they must have been playing around the bathroom door while we were gone.  One of the cats got shut in the bathroom.  I don’t know how long he was in there but he sure let us hear about it when we got home!  I still think his sister had something to do with it.  Pretty sure I saw her grinning.  I wouldn’t put it past her!

See what I mean?  Evil looking, isn’t she?! Don’t let her fool you, she is straight up crazy!

I am going to leave you with my whole wheat bread recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!

Be sure to take a long weekend and recharge your batteries soon too!

Click here to get the awesome program I use for recipes and meal planning!
Wheat Bread

Serves:
14Yield:
1 loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup Wheat Montana All-purpose white flour
1 cup Wheat Montana Prairie Gold whole wheat flour
1/4 cup multi-grain cereal or super grain blend of choice
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup raw organic flax seed
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/3 cup organic sugar or 1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup instant potato flakes (NOT potato pearls)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons instant dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
butter for brushing on top

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Put warm water, butter, and vinegar in bread machine pan. Dump in dry ingredient on top. Start bread machine on “Dough” cycle. When done kneading and rising, work the dough a bit to get out air bubbles, shape into a loaf and put into greased/sprayed loaf pan. Heat oven to 375* and let the loaf rise to about double. Bake for 27 minutes, turn pan around and bake for 3 more minutes. Remove from oven and brush with butter. Let cool for 5 minutes and then turn out of loaf pan onto a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in 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!)

Bread / Breads

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