30 October 2014

20 Minutes To A Clean House Part 2~ The Kitchen

 The Kitchen can feel so overwhelming but stick with a plan and each week it will be easier and you will get more done in that 20 minutes. Remember, the first few weeks it might feel like 20 minutes is not nearly enough time, even a little progress on some of the tasks that could take up all of the time is still progress and before you know it cleaning out the fridge will be a 1 minute job instead of 30.
* This is my list for our home. Make a list of what you need done weekly*

Music is a must have for me, I need the background noise
I start any job that needs a few minutes to do it's thing first so I am not wasting any of the 20 minutes.

~Start the Microwave Cleaning 
Just a damp sponge to steam it up, easy to wipe down
~Clean the Fridge
I just make sure there are no leftovers or spills
I try to get on top of fridge every week and then any spots that are bugging me. I use a Swiffer Duster on a long handle. No time to climb chairs!
~Wipe Down Cabinets
Not all of them, just where I can really see kid prints
~Wipe out Microwave
~Wipe Down Counters
~Clean Stove Top
I don't spend too much time on this, I am horrible at letting things boil over. This alone could be a 45 minute project if I tried to get every spot off. I just get it clean enough to look good.
~Wipe Down Chairs and door knobs
Just where I can see kid prints, this is so much better since we changed to benches and white chairs instead of 8 black chairs! Our pantry door knob is always icky!
~Clean Sink
I keep ours pretty clean during tidying so it's usually just the stainless part around the drain that needs a few seconds of work. Then I clean the disposal (vinegar ice cubes)
 I love our handle on our vacuum, I just take it around the room real quick
~Wipe Fingerprints off the glass doors
 ~Change Towels

Depending on what needs it more I either steam mop the floor or polish the stove, fridge and dishwasher.

That is it!
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26 October 2014

I am not even trying to plan any meals this week! 
This is what is left in our pantry

We have just a couple of days left here before we move.
I will have to do a major grocery shopping trip!

Looking to try some new recipes! Leave a link to your favorite dinner recipe!
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23 October 2014

How to keep your home CLEAN in 20 minutes a day! Part 1

I promise it's possible!
I get asked how I do it so often that I thought I would share!
I say 20 minutes because most days that is all the time I can make for cleaning. If you have more bathrooms or bedrooms it might take a little longer.

I still tidy at night and follow the general rules of get it out, put it away. This cleaning is more detailed than tidying and less detailed than seasonal cleaning.

Just my thoughts on this, before you can get, and keep a house clean, you need to do a couple things first! So, here is Part 1. These are the guidelines I guess I would call them, for how I clean.

1. Clear the clutter!
 I could spend hours on clutter if I didn't keep it in check. Managing the stuff that is a time thief will help!

2. Don't expect perfection!
Some days I spend 20 minutes on 2 jobs instead of the whole room. It's going to happen, we all have off days or sweet darling kid interruptions that take up all our cleaning time. Saying "good enough for today" once in a while is totally ok, going for a clean comfortable home, not a museum.

3. The old "A place for everything and everything in it's place"
I agree with a place for everything! Although, chances of everything being in it's place all at the same time when you have kids seems far fetched. That PLACE for everything doesn't have to be separate. At our house we mix dolls and dress up in the same container.

4. Keep Supplies Together
I could spend half my time running to get supplies. Instead I keep what I need together in a basket and get it all out the first time.

5. Prioritize
What is bugging you the most? If your shower is sparkling but your bathroom molding is making you crazy you aren't going to notice how nice the shower looks. Skipping a week of shower cleaning to tackle what is catching your eye and your attention will make the room feel cleaner.

6. Set that timer
It is so easy to get caught up in the cleaning in the beginning, and even after it's been routine for weeks.  Setting your timer for 20 minutes and stopping when it goes off is both a challenge and rewarding. I think most of us hustle a little more under pressure and if you hate cleaning you can see you only have ___ minutes left and sometimes that is just the thing to encourage sticking with it. Personally, I still do this even after years! I feel like I can sacrifice 20 minutes but I don't want to spend more than that and later on feel like I missed out on a whole day.

7. Don't Multitask
But DO start things that can work by themselves before you move to something else. Stick to your area for the day and have a basket handy for straggler items. Another thing I do is make phone calls while I clean, I can wait on hold on speakerphone while I am folding laundry or dusting.

8. Don't give up! 
When you have that day where nothing goes right. Skip that room if it's not a priority and you will catch up next week but don't give up entirely. Every time I give up (it happens once in a while) I regret it the first week! Even if you just aim for 1 month of sticking to a routine of 20 minutes you will notice a difference!

9. Delegate and Work Together
That 20 minutes does not have to be spent alone, kids can help too, even if it's not a huge job, everything they do, you don't have to do! I think it's good for kids, big and little to see what it takes to make a home run smoothly.

You might not be ready to start tomorrow, but working towards a routine that lets you have more time with your family AND a home you are comfortable with is worth it!

If you don't already have a tidying routine I would start there!
Mine is pretty much the same every morning and evening
~Start a load of laundry as soon as I get up
~Dishes as soon as breakfast is wrapping up
~A quick pick up trip around to grab things I can see are in the wrong room
If it's downstairs and belongs upstairs I make
 a pile on the stairs and go up once with it all 
~Dishes once dinner is done
~Finish up leftover laundry from the day
~quick pick up
~Sweep up the big stuff 
~Use a baby wipe and take care of food spills I can see. This saves SO much time when mopping!
~quick wipe down of bathroom counters and anything major

None of those I do alone! Our kids are plenty old enough to pitch in!

Part 2 Will be the KITCHEN! 20 minutes to a clean kitchen!

Linking up HERE
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20 October 2014

Meal Plan Monday

A little different this week, using this food we don't want to move twice!
We sold our home again (so far so good) and close next week, our rental isn't quite ready yet so we are staying with family until it is. Going to be an interesting few days!

Trying to use up open boxes of stuff like hot cereal and everything in our fridge! That should make for some interesting meals this week!

Monday~Meatball Subs
We have meatballs in the freezer that need to be used and marinara sauce I prepped before baby.

Tuesday~BBQ pork sandwiches
Using the rest of the buns and some already made bbq pork from the freezer. We also have a small package of fries that are open.

Have sauce and shredded beef in freezer and a package of noodles already open.

Thursday~Chicken and pasta
We have an open box if pasta and some cooked chicken. Lots of frozen veggies too!

I know we will have a bit if those. I hate to waste it. Kids like to call it "a little bit of everything" we just give them a little of everything left and some extra fruit and veggies!

Lunches are going to be fun, hoping to use up most of our open sauces and fridge stuff.
Thankfully, when we did this thing in August I used a lot of stuff up instead of buying, then we had the baby so I was really specific about what we brought in the house because I had a whole month of meals made. We still haven't used all of those but it's frozen stuff and we have a deep freezer.

Have you had to move a pantry full of food? Any tips?

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16 October 2014

Cute Little Helper

I just got this little mason jar stamp & I love it! 
Drinking water is always something I have struggled with. I have to keep track of my intake everyday. If I don't track it, it won't happen!

I saw it on etsy and knew I needed it. Perfect and dainty and just the right size for my planer pages. I just stamp the number of jars I need for the day and check them off as I drink up!

Is drinking enough a problem for anyone else?
How do you stay on track?
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15 October 2014

3 steps to get kids to do chores

This is how we do things. Not saying it's perfect or it will work for everyone, but here it works pretty well if we do our part as parents (step 3)

Step 1. Make your expectations clear
We use these chore packs and have recently added a chalk board for jobs.

Also I try to remember kids can't do what they don't know how to do. Telling a kid to clean their room without showing them HOW and then showing them what you expect it to look like when they are done is just setting everyone up for frustration. The first couple times do it with them, talk about where things go. Make sure everything has a place. Even if that "place" is a bucket where 20 other things go too. They don't have to do it your way, they probably won't!

2. Explain WHY
Why are you assigning chores, or family contributions? It's probably similar for all of us and different in some ways too. Our kids handle things better when they know why they are being asked to do something. 
 For us, we want them to see and experience that families have to work as a team to get things done, it's not all fun and sometimes we have to do jobs we don't like to do. 
Building good work ethic, like work before play and doing your best are important too.
Goodness knows how hard this can be! But this really makes all the difference! Sometimes as adults we get caught up in the things we NEED to get done. Taking that few minutes out of the necessary jobs to inspect kid jobs can seem like the first thing to cut out of our busy day. If you want them to be successful, they need to know when they are doing what you expect AND that you are going to check on their work. Praise for a job well done and showing appreciation for their work consistently is how they get motivated to consistently do the jobs they are asked to do.

Some tips
~don't expect perfection 
~keep jobs age appropriate 
~do them for them once in a while! It's a nice surprise for them

How we do chores
We come home from school, snack, chores then play and homework
Keeping the routine helps, kids know what to expect and hopefully they will remember work before play as adults, with the occasional exception :)

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13 October 2014

Meal Plan Monday

It's that time again! I swear the weeks are flying by since our little guy was born. I am not ready for it to go by so fast! Our kids have a lot of this week off of school so we are not as rushed for time. 

Monday~Enchilada Tater-tot Bake
 This is the recipe we use, altered a little for our family 
Since we need ground beef for this meal, I am thawing and browning enough for 2 meals. Save me a step in the next couple of days.

Tuesday~Chicken and Pasta 
I already have some baked shredded chicken in the freezer, going to thaw that, toss it with some veggies and pasta in some white sauce with herbs. Easy and everyone will eat it.
Using up the other part of the ground beef!
Thursday~Meatballs and Potatoes
We all like the Trader Joe's Turkey Meatballs, Thursday is a busy soccer day for us. This is easy to toss together and doesn't require an extended time over the stove. I usually do mashed potatoes but on busy days I "bake" the potatoes in the crock pot during the day.
Just wash, poke and wrap in foil. In the crock pot for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Friday~Chicken Spaghetti
I started making this recipe just a few months ago. Everyone here will eat it without complaining or bribery. I do alter the recipe a little, no canned soup here and we use a bit less sour cream.

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10 October 2014

The 18 things I packed for the hospital

Organizing Friday

I planned on sharing my list before we had the baby, oops!  I had a repeat C section, so this list might not be the same as others. While at the hospital I like to make things as homey as I can, but not make too much work for myself when I get home either, no extra laundry and NO ONE likes to unpack, especially after having a baby!

My list for baby is pretty small

~Preemie Outfit
~Newborn Outfit
~0-3 Month Outfit
I say 1 of each, cause you just never know what they will fit in!
if you are not against them
~Baby Shampoo
We like the Honest Co. it smells delish!
~Banner for Bassinet
 ~Couple Blankets
~Car Seat

That is ALL I packed for this boy! I like to really keep it to basics

For myself I packed a little more, it would have been less if we had been having normal September weather!

~Yoga pants
~Something comfy to wear home x2
~Phone and Charger
~Extension Cord
 those tables are NEVER close enough for phone chargers!
Could have skipped that!
~Plug in Air freshener
Not a fan of hospital "smell"
~Blankets from home and a PILLOW!
Nothing beats comforts you are used to
~Bathroom stuff
I skipped the eyeliner but I did bring a little makeup

That is it! It took me about 5 minutes to unpack when we got home! I didn't need everything I packed but didn't feel like I over packed either.

Anything you HAVE to have when you are having a baby? Maybe something not on every other list?
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09 October 2014

Home Management Binder to Personal Planner

I've been using my Home Management Binder for a few years now.
I love it, I don't know what I would do without it, but it's also HUGE and so much of it I don't need everyday. I made a change about a year ago to a smaller planner that will fit in my purse, granted I use a pretty large purse.

Recently I have been needing my HMB less and my planner like crazy!
I need to separate them and keep my HMB in the cupboard for emergencies and back-up, instead of for everyday.

For everyday use I am going to use my small planner. I am currently using this Martha Stewart one
 It's not holding up THAT well, the edges are a little rough looking. I am hoping to be able to splurge on a Filofax soon. If only I could decide on a color, and then find a deal!
I am leaning towards this color, unless I can find the yellow somewhere!

I need to split my sections up into 2, some for my HMB, things I don't need everyday, or even every week. Then the stuff I cannot make it through the week without!

I could make this a crazy long post, I'll keep it as short as I can!

What I am keeping in my HMB?
~Kids School Calendar
~Kids School info
Financial Folder with
~Checkbook and Register
~List of the accounts with #'s and phone numbers for company
~Savings envelopes
~Monthly Debt Goals. I keep track of what we pay off each month.
Must Have Info
~Personal info, like SSN, birth certificates etc.
~Immunization Records
~Financial Goals
~Life Goals

What I am moving to my planner?
~Wipe Clean Weekly Menu
~Daily Chores
~Daily To Do list
~Meal Planning Section
~Daily Schedule
 And a few more I will be sharing soon!

And I may have been going a little crazy with the stamps and stickers, but it just makes it more fun to look at, and believe me, I have to look at it a TON! I have lack of sleep, new baby brain and am SO forgetful these days! There are SO many cute stickers and options for planners right now,  I am loving these!


I can't wait to share some more planner stuff in a few days!
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07 October 2014

Halloween Decorations

I was really hoping to go all out again, we put our house on the market last week and we accepted and offer just 3 days later! We are closing just a couple days before Halloween (if all goes well this time!) So, no Halloween decorations this year! 

Sharing some from last year and the year before instead!
You can see all of my previous Halloween posts HERE

I just want to share my favorites, the things I am already missing the most!

I will really miss decorating this house, but I am also SO excited for our next adventure!

Please share your decorations too! I love seeing others Halloween decorations!
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06 October 2014

I'm BAAAACK! Meal Plan Monday!

Our sweet little Hawkins is 2 little weeks old already! It has gone by SOO fast!

We are still getting back into the swing of things and how our new bundle changes how we do things.
Thankfully, I planned and prepped about a months worth of meals ahead of time.
I still need to plan though, or we will have a whole lot of still frozen food come dinner time!

This week we are having

Shredded Beef Taco's
I just cooked a big roast in the crock pot, we used half last week and the rest for this meal.
Cooking once, eating twice is a must right now!

Loaded Potato Soup
We are eating like it's Fall around here, too bad it's still 70-80 degrees!
Crockpot Meatloaf
This is new to us, I am a little worried about how it will turn out!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
In the crockpot, Thursday is a busy day for us!
Chili & Brown Rice
Sneaking in a few ingredients the kids would normally object too!

Weekends are a little easier for us, I don't feel like I have to plan AS much!
What is on your meal plan for the week?
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