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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Tips for Trips

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

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

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

flour

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

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

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

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

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

*Tidy up and make the beds.

*Make sure the animals are taken care of.

*Close the blinds and turn down the thermostat.

*Turn off the lights, leaving one on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serves:
14Yield:
1 loaf

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

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

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

Bread / Breads

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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, food

Welcome Home

It is a beautiful snowy winter morning here in North Idaho.  I love all the seasons!  Each has its own beauty and uniqueness.  About the time I am tired of one season the next is coming up. There is always something fun to do each season.   We have had a lot of snow this winter which means I feel like baking!

winter

Today seemed like a good day to make granola.  It is super simple, delicious and makes the house smell like you’ve been slaving over a hot stove baking all day!  Not only that but it is much cheaper to make than store-bought and tastes better.

granola

There is something about smell that makes a house “feel” clean, cozy, welcoming.  All the things that you want for your family and friends.

I spend a lot of time in my home and  I want to feel like it loves me!  I want my home to hug my family when they come home from work.  I want your home to feel like that too!

You can’t always be making granola but you can do things to make your home feel welcoming when you come home after a long day.  Have dinner in the crock pot,  have your favorite beverage waiting for you in the fridge, have your favorite scent in the wax warmer.  Think about your future self and how you will want to feel when you walk in the front door. It can be very simple things that take only a moment.  If you know it will be dark out when you return, leave the porch light on and the light over the clean kitchen sink.  There is something about having a light on for you that makes you feel loved.    Treat yourself (your future self) and your family the way you treat your guests.  Put your favorite book by your chair.  Set your coffee pot to start automatically in the morning and put your husband’s favorite coffee mug next to the pot.  Have a warm fleece throw on the couch to cozy up in.

Cuisinart DCC-1100BK 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, Black

 

Sherpa Flannel Fleece reversible blanket

Make yourself and your family feel like they are walking into a retreat and a refuge from the world when they arrive home.   You get beat up all day,  your home should be your safe place, your peaceful sanctuary.  A home is more than a place to hang your hat. Your home is where you can be restored. You and your family deserve that!  Your home is yours and it should love you back!

I would love to hear how you make your house a welcoming warm place to be for you and your family!
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Here is my granola recipe!

Granola

Different flavor combination ideas, or come up with your own!
Pecan pie: pecans, honey, brown sugar, vanilla
Hawaiian: macadamia nuts, honey, vanilla, coconut
Pumpkin: Pumpkin pie spice, rum extract, walnuts

3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sweetener : honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coconut opt
1 cup raisins opt
1 teaspoon spice of any kind cinnamon opt
1 frothy beaten egg white


Mix oats, nuts, salt, and spices into a large bowl.
Add honey, brown sugar, oil, and beaten egg white
Mix well.
Spread out on a large baking sheet on parchment paper
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Give it a stir and return it to the oven for 10-15 more minutes watching to be sure it doesn’t get too dark.
Stop when the granola looks toasty brown and smells incredible.
Let the granola cool completely in the pan without stirring, then break up and store in an airtight container.
Click here to get the awesome program I use for recipes and meal planning!

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

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

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

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

 


DVO


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Posted in food, planning

Menu planning

Sunday is usually my “prep for the weekday”.  My husband works Sundays so I have time to myself to get things prepared for dinners, our lunches for the week, start on laundry, make sure uniforms are clean and ready and gear up for daycare for the coming week.  The whole family comes to dinner on Sundays too, so it’s a busy day!

This last Sunday was especially busy!  Granddaughter Brooklyn had an ice skating show Sunday afternoon.

Isn’t she just the cutest Tinkerbell you’ve ever seen?!  They are not very clear pictures. The plexiglass at the rink is pretty beat up from hockey!  You can see that she is quite good though!  Especially for six years old! We are all so proud of her!  She has a competition coming up in March in Montana.  She will be practicing hard for that.

The Ice Show went longer than I had anticipated Sunday evening so I was really glad I had put a roast in the crockpot for pulled pork “Frito Burritos” as Brooklyn calls them.

My pork roast was a bit small so I put a small beef roast in another little crock pot.  (I have three!  I don’t feel you can have too many crock pots!) I put some beef broth over both roasts and a bit of salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin and turned them on low for the day.  I put some rice in my rice cooker (An invaluable appliance!)  and turned that on before leaving the house.

If you don’t already have a rice cooker, click on this one to check it out on Amazon!

When we all met back at the house for dinner the roasts were ready and so was the rice. My girls helped cut up some olives and tomato while I warmed up some black beans and refried beans and shredded the roasts.   We got out the hot sauce, sour cream, jalapenos and the FRITOS!  We wrapped all that up in giant burrito size tortillas.  YUM!  I wanted to get pictures but it was gone too fast!

Menu planning is vital for a well-run house.  It is important for your budget, your health and for your sanity!  When you plan ahead you can avoid having to eat out.  I didn’t know that the ice show would go so long but I knew I wouldn’t be home to prepare something so I used my crockpot.  Had I not planned ahead we probably would have had to order pizza.  That would definitely not be good for the pocket-book.

After a long day at work, no one wants to try to figure out what to make for dinner or run to the store at 5:30.   The drive-thru seems like a good option at the time but your health and weight will pay for that.

To save money, be healthy and have peaceful evenings, take a few minutes out of every week to plan a menu.

Take stock of what is in your freezer and pantry.  Try to use things you have first.  Check out your grocery store’s ads.  Buy meat when it is on sale.  My grocery store’s ads come out every Wednesday so that is the day I make my menu for the next week, Sunday-Saturday.

Look at your calendar, what do you have going on?  Do you need to plan a crock pot dinner? Is everyone going to be eating together? Is there a night it’s just you and you can have leftovers?

Check the weather for the week.  I am very much a “what do I feel like eating today” sort of person so weather is something that I look at when I make a menu.  If it is raining and cold I am not going to want a salad for dinner.  I am going to want soup and I know this about me, so I plan for it.

I use an awesome tool for menu planning.  I have been using a computer program, Cook’n for all my recipes for a very long time and I absolutely love it!  You can import recipes with a click of the mouse and drag and drop them into your week or month’s menus.  I highly recommend the program.  They also have an app for Android and IOS that is super convenient!  The company has been around since the early nineties and has only gotten better over time.  Their support is great too! I seriously couldn’t live without this!

It makes menu planning fun!  Please check them out here:

http://www.dvo.com/index.php?CID=blondie

Whatever you use, whether it be a computer program, App or a pad and pencil, just use it!  Plan! It will save time and money and it will give you and your family peaceful dinners together.  Take a few minutes so that you can spend more time doing what you love with who you love.

Here is a link to the Neato Frito Over-Stuffed Burritos that we had for dinner on Sunday! Check it out!  They were amazing!

foodiewithfamily.com/neato-frito-overstuffed-burritosNeato-Frito-Overstuffed-Burrito-a

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Posted in cleaning, organizing, planning

A system that works

I love paper.  I love index cards. I love all things office supply.  Office Max practically makes me giddy!  I remember as a kid in grade school wanting to be the one chosen by the teacher to go to the paper room for her.  It smelled so good in there and all that fresh clean paper! I know, weird kid, huh?

I am a hands on, actual pen and paper person when it comes to lists and calendars.  It’s nice to have on my phone or computer but I really need to have it physically written as well.  For years I have had my housework organized on index cards.   It has worked well for me and still does.  I still have the chores on index cards that I made for my kids when they were young.  They have memories of those cards, I want to say fond memories but I can’t be sure of that!  Although they have said I can’t get rid of them.

I keep my box of index cards on my kitchen counter.  I have a cat.  Actually I have two cats, but one is quite mischievous.   I woke the other morning to find my entire box of  index cards scattered on the kitchen floor.  I was extremely irritated but took a deep breath and decided to use this as an opportunity to be re inspired and  reorganized.

chore box

My husband bought me new index cards, not just plain old white ones but colored ones!  He said he thought I might enjoy color coding them.   I think he knows me pretty well!  I have been sorting and writing new cards and trying to come up with a new system all morning between loads of laundry and changing diapers and I think I have come up with a pretty good plan!

* Daily Chores                                                                                                                                         * Chores that are done on specific days of the week                                                                       * Chores that only need to be done once or twice a year, broken down by rooms

finished chore box

It’s not perfect, it doesn’t look perfect, but it works for me.  Whatever you do, should work for you.  Whether it is just a sticky note on your mirror reminding you to make your bed or a full spreadsheet with every possible household duty listed, make sure it is working for you.  We are all different.  If it is overwhelming you, it’s not working.  Simplify.  If lists are your jam then get some fun note paper for that.   If you are weird like me, try color-coded index cards.  Don’t get bogged down with the details.  Just have a system that works so you can spend less time playing “catch up” on housework and more time just playing!

Now…… which one of these terrors is to blame?

kitties