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!

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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

 

 

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, Tips and Tricks

Less is Best!

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

camping

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

puddles

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

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

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

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

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

 

dust

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

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

 

Posted in cleaning, family, food, planning

Not the What, but the Why

 

 

bible

I sat quietly preparing for my day this morning, as I do each morning before anyone is up.  I was planning my work for the day, reading, praying and just getting mentally prepared for housework, cooking, and many toddlers.   I looked at my chores list that doesn’t change much from day-to-day and sighed.  Running a well-organized home is very monotonous.  Cooking, dishes, laundry, repeat.

notes

(The books I am reading right now are “Secrets of the Proverbs 31 Woman” by Rae Simons and “Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be” by Dona Partow.  I highly recommend them!)

books

“Housework” is often very devalued and looked upon as menial, less important and those that do it full-time have little to no status.  In actuality, those chores that feel monotonous, unimportant and often unappreciated are some of the most important things you can do.

Having clean clothes is pretty important.  Just stop doing laundry for a couple of weeks and see how everyone starts noticing! Making meals for your family is important. Important to your budget, and your family’s health. Sitting at the table eating dinner together is vital to family relationships.  Having a clean home is important for many reasons!

laundry

So why do we give it such little value?  When you clean your home, cook meals, wash clothes, put away toys and shoes, and make appointments for your kids and file paperwork and go grocery shopping, you aren’t just taking care of your home.  You are caring for your family! It’s not about the laundry and the dusting, it’s about why you’re doing it.  You are creating a safe and stable place for you and your family.  A place of peace and not chaos away from the crazy world.  A place that your kids can feel taken care of like God cares for us.  It is being organized so that there is less stress before everyone leaves for the day and has to deal with stress at school and work.  It’s planning ahead for dinner for the family when you all come home so everyone can unwind.

table

“Housework” is the most valuable thing you can do.  It shouldn’t be looked down on, or resented!  God has given us the very important job of caring for our families.  We are blessing them and blessing God by doing those seemingly menial tasks. It is not only valuable, it’s priceless.

While I was thinking on this I decided to change my sigh into thanking God for honoring me with the responsibility of caring for my family by “housework”.   He trusted me to do this!

Eph. 6:7  Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (NLT)

Ecclesiastes 9:10a  Whatever you do, do well. (NLT)

Each tedious task is an opportunity to bless our families and bless God.  Cleaning the toilet is still not glamorous.  Let’s be real.  It is still hard to be excited about vacuuming.  But I am going to really try to remember that it is not about the chore, it’s about the why.

This is my “why”!

family

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in cleaning, family, food, Tips and Tricks

Welcome Spring!

easter

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

jesus

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

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

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

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

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

 

seaon-of-rebirth

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

galette

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

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

herbs1

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

Here is my version of this fantastic recipe.

 


Chicken Potpie Galette with Cheddar-Thyme Crust Recipe

Servings 6

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:

 

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

 

 

Yield: 6 servings

Directions

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

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

Source: tasteofhome.com

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

Tips for Trips

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

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

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

flour

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

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

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

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

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

*Tidy up and make the beds.

*Make sure the animals are taken care of.

*Close the blinds and turn down the thermostat.

*Turn off the lights, leaving one on.

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

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

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

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

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

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Wheat Bread

Serves:
14Yield:
1 loaf

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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Bread / Breads

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Posted in cleaning

The “WHY”

why

I was contemplating today the reasons WHY we should have a clean house.  Is it really that big of a deal?  How important is it, actually? If we are ok with dirty dishes, clutter, piles of laundry and a ring around the toilet then why should we even bother with trying to establish habits that will keep our house clean and tidy? If I am not a natural clean freak then what is the harm in just being a bit on the messy side?

It is hard to commit to doing something if you really have no reason in your own mind for doing it.  If I told you it was very important for you to put your finger on your nose for five minutes every single day,  you would have a hard time doing it not knowing why on earth you should do that!

I have my own reasons for having a clean house.  For me, I know that my home represents me and shows a lot of how my mind works and I guess I am just a bit vain and want my house to show the best me.  I have a hard time focusing amidst untidiness. I feel very on edge and irritable with too much stuff out-of-place.  I can’t have peace in my soul with dishes in the sink.  I get really out of sorts when I can not find things so that is pretty motivating as well!  Part of that is my character and a lot of it is human nature.  Our minds don’t function well in disorder.

But beyond just character and human nature, there are very real reasons we should be clean and tidy.

Your health and the health of your children are one of the biggest reasons you should commit to developing the habit of a self-cleaning house.

dirty-dishes-sink-37885821 (2)

An unclean refrigerator, an overflowing trash can, unwashed dishes in the sink, food left out or food particles on the counter or stove all are a breeding ground for disease and bacteria. Mmmmm….. dinner with a side of E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter!

mice

Food left out, chips or popcorn on the floor or in the couch, pizza boxes left on the coffee table all are invitations for little critters to come dine and poop and make themselves at home in a cupboard. Critters are known for spreading disease.

Dishwashers and washing machines that are not cleaned properly can harbor mold and bacteria so that washing your dishes and clothes in them can actually make you sick.

Dirty ovens are a fire hazard and the smoke they emit every time they are turned on is harmful to your lungs.

Without regular vacuuming and dusting, you are exposing yourself to dust mites, pet dander, and mold that cause or make allergies worse.

Untitled design (8)

Unclean bed sheets can hold bacteria and also mites and dander that cause a number of health conditions.  The house we lived in when my kids were growing up was older and had a spider problem.  Making the beds daily prevented spider bites.  In other words, it kept the spiders from getting into our beds!  Talk about motivation to make your bed every day!

spider

The bathroom…… ewwwww.  Let’s be honest.  Bathrooms are the worst.  If not cleaned regularly they WILL have bacteria and parasites such as worms,  E. coli, and Staphylococcus.  Every time you flush the toilet bacteria and germs are dispersed through the air. (Reason number 173,593 why I always close the lid first, but even then…)  The warmth and humidity from baths and showers make it a breeding ground for mold.   Even the cleanest bathroom is going to have some of this nastiness in it but imagine when it is not clean! Shudder!!!

bathroom

General clutter and untidiness lead to more dust that can make allergies and asthma worse. Clutter can cause accidents and falls. I am pretty sure I have broken a toe at least five times and clutter or things like not pushing a chair back in are to blame.  I left the vacuum cleaner out once and my baby toe was a victim.  Clutter on the floor could prevent a First Responder from getting to you in case of a fire or other disaster.  My children are still terrified of this apparently… I didn’t mean to scar them, just make them clean their rooms!

fire

Research shows a link to cluttered and dirty homes to obesity and also laziness because of the mental impact disarray and uncleanness has.  A messy home can actually contribute to depression!   The act of cleaning your home and then enjoying a clean home has been proven to reduce stress!! With so much unrest and chaos in the world,  your home should be a clean and peaceful place to be.

So there you have it! The WHY!  The reasons for establishing self-cleaning house habits.

*Your health
*Prevent pest problems
*Safety
*Mental health, clarity, and peace

If that’s not a motivator, I don’t know what is.

Now, I am going to go clean the bathroom, AGAIN!

Posted in cleaning, family, planning

House cleaning vs. Housekeeping

This happened last weekend!!

IMG_0833

Saturday was my husband’s birthday and what better way to spend it than with friends and family riding in the snow in beautiful North Idaho.  It was a blast! We are beyond blessed that we can do this practically in our backyard.

The sun was bright, the air was clear and chilly but when we stopped for breaks it was comfortable in just a sweatshirt.  There was still plenty of snow to make it fun!  It was thrilling and our need for nature therapy has been met for now!

When we came home our house was clean and welcoming because we did our morning habits.  We changed into comfortable clothes, started a fire in the fireplace and grilled steak for dinner.  Hubby said it was one of the best birthdays he has ever had.  WIN!

Those little habits can make your weekend seem like a vacation! Isn’t that what a weekend is supposed to be?  It is a break from work.  A time to enjoy life, enjoy and spend time with family and friends.  A time for memory making and forming bonds.  I don’t want you to be a slave to your house and your laundry.  I guarantee that you can have a clean and relaxing house to come home to and be able to spend time on the weekends doing the things you love if you begin to establish small habits.

It is easy to make “house cleaning”  a HUGE deal in our minds. A massive undertaking. We have to have six hours, twenty different cleaners, the right frame of mind, no make-up, sweats and rubber gloves and do it all at once.  This drudgery is overwhelming and discouraging even before you start.  I prefer “housekeeping”.  Keeping your house clean rather than ruining every other Saturday scrubbing and having your house look crummy two days after all that effort and will until the next scouring session.

Housekeeping is a string of continuous small habits that are short, easy and almost unconscious.  Housekeeping frees you to have weekends that are vacations rather than days of backbreaking, unappreciated work.  It allows you to come home to your own bed and breakfast and feel peace and rest.

It is my passion to free mom’s and dad’s to spend more time with their kids making memories and husbands and wives to be able to do the fun things and even single people to be able enjoy life!  I want to free all of you from “housecleaning”.  I want everyone to able to enjoy a peaceful clean, organized and welcoming home and enjoying doing the things you love!

So, who is up for a challenge?!  For the next week do these simple habits everyday and see what happens! I would love to hear from you!  Are you ready for a self-cleaning house?

  1. Make your bed everyday
  2. Clean your bathroom every morning
  3. Empty the dishwasher and put out a clean dish towel and dish cloth
  4. Take out the trash
  5. Start a load of laundry and put away the clothes in the dryer
  6.  Be proud of your home!

Do your habits, make memories and enjoy your weekend!

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