Posted in routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

New Year’s Resolutions

The new year is fast approaching and it is the time when people begin to think of change.  New habits they want to start, old ones they want to break.  

I have not been a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  They sound good, but really they are just a way of procrastinating what we know we should be doing now, until the first of January.   We will probably spend money to lose weight or exercise or start some new craft or hobby and then by March,  if we are lucky to make it that long, we are back to where we were but with less money and nothing to show for it.   I am not trying to be a Debbie downer here, but let’s face it, it is pretty typical.  

I am very guilty of this myself, which is why I haven’t been a resolution enthusiast and most definitely don’t share my attempt at resolve to change an area of my life on social media.  No one likes to fail publicly! 

I am currently reading James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.  It is one of the most amazing books I have ever read!  If you want to really learn how to change your habits and change your life you need to get this book!  It is powerful! Because of this book, I may change my opinion and actually make some New Year’s Resolutions this coming year and stick to them! I am learning so much!

We often we fail to follow through with our efforts to change because although we WISH to change, we don’t really WANT to.   Even though we don’t like the habit or behavior we wish to change, it is comfortable.  Change is hard.    We may be afraid of change.  It may be subconscious.   We may not feel we deserve it.     We got there for a reason.   It may require working through those issues before change can happen.  

Another reason our resolutions flop is because we don’t know how to go about changing!  We rely on sheer willpower to make huge changes in our lives.  When we are tired, stressed, hungry, sad, our willpower is the first of our character traits to bail on us!  Our brain is trained to make us feel better and protect us.  It doesn’t know that a quart of ice cream at 10pm is a bad thing.  It just wants us to be ok.  

There are some amazing habit hacks that you can use to help you actually stick to those resolutions!   

Make your new habit as fun and attractive as possible! Buy a new pair of walking shoes or a cookbook.

Reward yourself! Pay yourself each time you work out and use that money for a spa day or for something you want.

Don’t make your new habit so difficult that you are defeated before you start.   Go to the gym a couple times a week, not 6 days a week for two hours a day!  Make it easy! 

Remove any obstacles that would give you an excuse to not follow through.  Set out your gym clothes at night.  Get rid of all the junk food in the house.

If you are trying to stop watching so much TV put the remote in another room or on top of a shelf that you can’t reach well. 

Change your routine.  If you always have cookies after dinner and you want to stop, immediately after dinner, do something else!  Go for a walk.  Take a bath.  

Most of those things relate to weight loss and healthy living but you can apply those principles to anything!

Those are just a few small things that are mentioned in this book.  There is a wealth of knowledge in it! 

You can purchase it here! 

I am following his blog as well.  It is always fascinating and I learn something new every time I read a new article.  I am kind of a nerd when it comes to self-improvement, productivity, motivation and that sort of thing.  If you are into that, you really should check it out!

https://jamesclear.com/

If you are wanting to make a change in the New Year, whether in your home, in the way you go about housekeeping, or in your health or whatever it is you want to change, now actually is a good time to start planning and moving in that direction.  With the proper tools and knowledge, you will be able to achieve your goals! 

Check the routines page here on my blog for the basics to help you stay on track!  

Get the Atomic Habits to help you learn how to best keep those habits in place

And hide the Cookies!!

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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

 

Posted in cleaning, family, food, motivation, routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

Kids Routines and Chores

brooklyns chores

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!

“We were created for meaningful work, and one of life_s greatest pleasures is the satisfaction of a job well done.”— John C. Maxwell (1)

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!

https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/why-kids-need-value-hard-work

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!

proverbs 22 6

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!

day 3 fermented veggies

Fresh vegetable of choice: cauliflower cucumber, carrots, green beans, asparagus, radishes, whatever suits your fancy
2 cups good, filtered water
1 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
3 cloves garlic opt
bay leaf, peppercorns, jalapenos, or other spices you want to use.
1 leaf cabbage or small ziplock baggie of rice
1 wide 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.

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, 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, 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.

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

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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, 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.

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

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

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

 

 

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!