Posted in routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

New Year’s Resolutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can purchase it here! 

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

https://jamesclear.com/

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

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

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

And hide the Cookies!!

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

Kids Routines and Chores

brooklyns chores

The kids are back in school!  My granddaughter is in 2nd grade this year.  Time sure flies!  The first week of school is always really exciting and she is anxious to get up and be ready for school and out the door on time.  After that, it starts to get…. a little less exciting.  Establishing good routines that first week is super important, and then making sure that they keep it up is important too!

Teaching life skills is one of the most important jobs we have as parents.

Teaching routines, goal setting, and self-discipline sets your kids up for success!

Even though I know my routines inside out and backward, I, as an adult, still like checking each item off and feeling successful first thing in the morning.

It is just as important for our kids to feel that way!  Having a list, chart, whiteboard or some other way for them to mark off completed items, helps them feel successful, helps them to know exactly what is expected of them, keeps you from having to tell them over and over to do each item and it teaches self-discipline.  Giving them some things that are super simple, especially at a young age, helps them feel good because it is not overwhelming and they have that sense of satisfaction right away.  “Look Mom! I already have two things checked off my list!”  Even though those two things were get dressed and brush their teeth, we need to let them feel that sense of accomplishment.  It will encourage them to achieve more for that good feeling and a good work ethic is born!  That sets them up for success later in life!

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

It’s up to you if you want to reward them for doing chores or routines.  My own personal opinion is that it is important to teach them to feel the satisfaction of a job well done and get praise and or appreciation from you,  not money.  No one pays me to clean my house, unfortunately!  It would be much harder for me to have a good attitude about doing it for simply the satisfaction of having a clean home if I had learned that everything I do demands compensation to be worthwhile.  It’s extremely important to remember to praise and thank your children for the jobs they do.  Don’t forget that we are trying to teach them to feel good about a job well done.

That being said, I think it is a very good life lesson when kids are compensated for doing things above and beyond what is laid out and expected of them. Their routines and normal chores should be expected, but raking the yard or weeding the garden may be a great way for them to earn money for something they really want.   Money, or whatever has been chosen as payment for tasks, is a great way to teach them about finances and is extremely motivating.

Here is an excellent short read from Dave Ramsey on this topic!

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

Take a moment to thank your child and praise him for making his bed or even brushing his teeth today and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back and really feel good about what you got done too! Good job!! You are teaching your kids habits that will benefit them for life!

proverbs 22 6

I have been trying a new thing!!  I had heard how great fermented veggies were for your gut health and digestion.  I wanted to try it!  I am always up for a new experiment.  The first batch I did was Brussels sprouts.  That was the only fresh veggie I had on hand.  I wouldn’t recommend them!  They were…ok.  If you are a fan of raw Brussels sprouts then maybe you would like them.   This batch I am very excited about! Cauliflower!

This is a picture on day 3.  It is starting to get cloudy!  That is just what it is supposed to do!

day 3 fermented veggies

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

Stir the salt and water together until dissolved.

Pour the salt water over the vegetables leaving 1/2″ of headspace. Tap jar on counter and wiggle around to get rid of air bubbles and pockets.

Fold a small cabbage leaf and press it down on top of the vegetables so that it keeps the vegetables submerged in the salt water. or put a bit of rice in a snack ziplock bag removing all the air and place on top of vegetables to keep the vegetables submerged.

Close the lid on the jar tightly and place it out of direct sunlight in a relatively moderate temperature (68-75 degrees).

You will start to see some bubbling around day 2 or so. After day 2, over a sink (it will kinda fizz and leak as you begin to open it), gently loosen the lid to let some of the gas escape once or twice a day.

The vegetables are ready anywhere from day 4-10. The longer they sit, the tangier they’ll be. Taste them starting on day 4 to figure out your preference. I like them best around day 5 or so.

Once you decide they’re the level of sourness you’re looking for, place the jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for a couple of months.

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

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

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)


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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

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!