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

Holiday Traditions

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

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

woman preparing christmas table
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

easter

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

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

dessert

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

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

Christmas Tree

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

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

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

party

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

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

Holiday Recipes / Holiday Recipes

Perfect flaky pie crust everytime!

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


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

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Posted in cleaning, family, happiness, memories, routines

Wanna know a secret??

secret

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!!

happy 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 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.

 

more

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.

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Posted in cleaning, food, organizing, planning

September Is the New January

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

smoke

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

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

white blank notebook
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

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

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

scrabble resolutions
Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

September is the newJanuary

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

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

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

Chicken Avocado Burritos

Serves:
12Yield:
12Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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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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Mexican / Mexican

 

 

http://emay.myctfocbd.com/

Posted in cleaning, family, food

Overwhelmed

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.

to do list

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!

overwhelmed

Photo Credit: dorsetdivorcee

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.

smileI 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.

overwhelmed

Photo Credit: quotesgram

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.

Morning Routine:

*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!

peace

 

 

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!

meatballs2

Of course, you can buy chicken already ground at the store, but I enjoy doing it and it is much cheaper.

meatballs7

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

 

 

Ingredients:

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
fresh basil

 

Directions:

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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Servings:
6Yield:
Serves:� 6-8

 

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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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!)


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

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

Posted in cleaning, food, organizing, 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”

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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 camping, Coeur d' Alene River, family, food, memories, spiritual

Enjoy the Journey!

The sun was warm on our heads and cool fresh mountain air filled our lungs as the trees rushed by us.   The whine of the engines drowned out all thoughts of bills, schedules, and responsibilities.  This is nature therapy!

quad trail

We had a destination in mind when we set out that morning for a ride on the quads.  The day was perfect for a ride.  It is early in the season.  The river is high.  The runoff has created beautiful waterfalls.  It’s not yet too dusty.  But…..the Forest Service hasn’t been able to clear all the ATV trails and the roads yet.

We headed off in the direction of our destination.  We took time to make stops and take pictures of the beauty that surrounded us.

fun

At one point we came to a fork in the road.  We chose a road that seemed right and followed it.  After a while, we realized we had taken the wrong road.  We got out the map and determined we could still get where we were going on this road.  It was just going to be the scenic route! We decided to press on.  There seemed to be an awful lot of obstacles on this route. Snow, washed out areas and many downed trees across the road. Some we were able to move, others we could drive over or around.  A couple of places it was a bit sketchy getting around and over the trees being so close to the edge of the road and being so high on the mountain.

obstacles2

My middle daughter, Christi, is an amazing rider.  She really is. Granddaughter Brooklyn rides on the back like a champ! Sometimes she gets scared though.  Those obstructions and the way around them was a bit hairy and Brooklyn was NOT a fan.  We went around the first downed tree ahead of our girls and my husband looked back at Christi.  She looked at the tree and the cliff, then she looked at Brooklyn and looked at her Dad.  Brooklyn was already trying to get off the quad.  Christi got off and held her hand.  Chris walked back and drove her quad over the tree on the edge and to a safe place because that is what good Dads and Papas do!

After a few of those, we came to a giant tree across the road.  There was no getting around, over or under.  We were done.  We had to turn and go back.  No big deal, we weren’t on any time schedule.  We were enjoying the ride.  We got back to the place where we had made a wrong turn and chose the other road.   Pretty soon we came upon a truck stopped in the road.  As we began to maneuver around the truck we saw there was a man cutting a big downed tree across the road that we would not have been able to cross.  We waved at this nice man who was making it possible to continue our adventure.  He turned from his chainsaw to wave back and we realized it was an old friend! Now, what are the chances of running into someone you haven’t seen in several years, on the top of a mountain on a random forest service road?!  Slim, I tell ya! We stopped and chatted and helped him load his firewood, our obstacle, into his truck. We thanked him for clearing the road and exchanged hugs and handshakes and went on our way!

We did eventually reach our goal and had a picnic before heading back.  Lauren, my oldest, mentioned how even though we had many challenges along the way, it did make our trek more interesting.  More interesting, in fact, than our picnic. On our return trip, I had time to ponder that.

Our lives are so much like that expedition.  We are going along and think we know our way but sometimes make wrong choices.  We think we can power through and make our choices work anyway.  We reach scary places and God is always right there to help us if we ask.  He will gently tell us we are going the wrong way by one downed tree in our path after another.  Perhaps those snags are there so we can learn how to best get past them so we can teach someone else, or maybe it just makes a really great story! Sometimes, it takes a giant tree in the road to get us to turn around if we are headed in the wrong direction.   We might think “Why am I being prevented from reaching my goals?”, when in fact it is God’s hand directing our path.  He puts people in our lives to help us.  It may be a friend, or family or a stranger.  Sometimes those people don’t even know they are doing God’s work.

God has a plan for each of us.  The bumps in the road make life interesting.  Ask God for help when you are overwhelmed.  Look for His direction.  Be aware of the people in your life.  Enjoy this journey!

life

If you haven’t had Tacos while camping, well, you should!  Everything seems to taste way better in the woods anyway, but this weekend we had tacos in the great outdoors and  it was glorious!  I don’t know why I had never thought of it before.   I know that isn’t one of those things you think of as “camping food”, but really it is pretty easy to do with limited equipment.  Everything can be prepped ahead of time and if you are tent camping just leave out the lettuce.  Tomatoes don’t need to be refrigerated if you leave them whole.

I am not a huge “brand” person most the time, but right here I am going to be that lady.  McCormick Taco Seasoning all the way and either Cholula hot sauce (you know, the one with the little round wooden top) or Taco Bell’s Hot Sauce that, yes, they do sell in stores!!  S&W Organic Black Beans are amazing! Click on those links to order! You won’t regret it!  Those ingredients just make tacos for me!

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

Here is my taco meat recipe.  I hope you enjoy it no matter where you are!

Taco Meat

Serves: 6

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium yellow onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 (15-ounce) can organic S&W Black Beans drained and rinsed
1 package McCormick
1 1/2 cup water
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Directions:

Saute ground beef, onion and garlic together. Drain fat from pan. Add black beans, taco seasoning, and water. Stir, bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning adding salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve in taco shells, flour tortilla, corn tortillas or lettuce wraps with lettuce, tomato, sliced olives, shredded cheese, sour cream 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!)

 

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

Twenty reasons to keep your house clean

list

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

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

1,  A clean house is peaceful

2.  You can find things in a clean home.

3.  Your home is a reflection of you.

4.  You can truly relax in a clean house.

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

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

7.  A clean house attracts fewer insects and pests.

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

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

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

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

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

13.  People enjoy coming to your house.

14.  You enjoy friends coming to your home.

15.  You enjoy coming home to your house.

16.  Your kids like bringing their friends over.

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

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

19.  You can be proud of your home.

20.  You and your family deserve it!

finn

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

Finn video.GIF

His name is Finn and we are in love!

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

 

 

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

Chicken Parmesan with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Serves:
4

 

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

 

 

 

 

 

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

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

 

 

Chicken Breast Recipes / Chicken Breast Recipes

 

 

 

 

 

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

Work Smart, Not Hard

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

swing set collage

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

work smart

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

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

 

team

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

 

fun

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

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

calendar

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

pays

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

hard work

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

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

spritzers

Barefoot Refresh. Delish!

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

Go check out a Bitchin’ Kitchen!

Chicken Gyros

Chicken Gyro

 

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

Cook’n is an amazing tool!

Memories being made right here…..

brooklyn cutie