Posted in cleaning, organizing, planning, routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

The Crockpot List

composition cute design diary
Photo by Miesha Moriniere on Pexels.com

I am a list person! I love  “to do lists” and “honey-do lists” and “things I want to make lists” and “grocery lists”.  For some though, lists are overwhelming and discouraging.    They are not a challenge but instead just daunting, and they are likely to give up before they start.   If that is you, I want to help you!

First of all, your daily routines are going to become HABIT and you won’t need a list to tell you to do it.  You may need to remind yourself for a while with sticky notes or index cards until your habits are set in stone but eventually, they are like breathing.  That is the whole point!  You won’t have to think about it! (If you haven’t read the daily routines on my blog, go do that now! Check in the main menu! )

If you get overwhelmed by lists, I am willing to bet that you put everything from “Clean the garage” to “feed the cat” on your list of things to do today.  Your list is longer than your arm and you have work, your child has ball practice and you have to make cookies for the bake sale.  Not a good day for cleaning the garage or anything else that is going to take more than five minutes to accomplish.  That list, although some things like “feed the cat” need to happen today, is way too much and it is discouraging right off.

Even if you don’t think you are a “list person”, lists can be very helpful.    Going to the store without a grocery list is like a dizzy blindfolded kid trying to hit a pinata. Good luck!  If you don’t make a list of Christmas gifts to buy, you are guaranteed to forget someone. Awkward!!!  Lists are very important!

Sometimes our minds get so busy thinking of all the things we need to do that we can’t focus or even sleep well.  Putting those things in writing on a list helps to get it out of our brain and onto paper so you can rest or focus fully at the task at hand.

Lists help you feel grounded and less scattered.   Lists allow you to be able to make a plan.

The trick to not getting overwhelmed with lists is to not put everything on the same list and don’t expect to get everything on your list done by lunchtime.  You can have lists for things you don’t plan to have finished until next year!

crockpot

Today I want you to take just a few minutes and start a “crockpot list”.  Yes, a “crockpot list”!  This is a list of things that you would eventually like to get done but aren’t vital do NOW! Things that can sit and “cook” for a while.  This is not a list that you are to look at and feel pressured by.  This is a list that you can look at next time you find yourself at home for an afternoon and you have two hours free….what on that list can you get done?  Maybe your husband agreed to help you do some household things for one hour, what on that list can you do?  You are waiting for a friend and they call and say they are running fifteen minutes late.  There is a lot of things you can do in fifteen minutes instead of staring at the clock!

My “Crockpot List”  looks like this:

Clean out/tidy the secretary desk (desk where we keep bills, coupons, envelopes, stamps etc.)

Clean and organize the corner cupboards in my kitchen

Work on my cookbook

Defrost the chest freezer and organize

Work on my book

Organize the craft supplies

Post the items I would like to sell on Marketplace

Scan old photos and save on my computer

Clean the junk drawer

Tidy the coat closet

Break down boxes to fit in the recycle bin

person hands woman pen
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Make your crockpot list and keep it either in your day planner or the side of the fridge, where ever you will find it next time you have a few moments to work on something.   A “Crockpot List” will help you be more productive and a better time manager!

round gold colored analog watch with pink leather strap on pink notebook
Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com

 

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

Kids Routines and Chores

brooklyns chores

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

proverbs 22 6

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

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

day 3 fermented veggies

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

Stir the salt and water together until dissolved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Mexican / Mexican

 

 

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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, 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!

 

 

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Chicken Parmesan with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Serves:
4

 

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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Chicken Breast Recipes / Chicken Breast Recipes

 

 

 

 

 

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 about 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