Cleaning Day….

27 05 2010

I have had a lot of people ask me about my cleaning day.  For those that don’t know, I clean my entire house in one day and then just do “damage control” the rest of the week.  The reason for this is two fold….it helps sooo much with homeschooling.  I know what needs to be done and when, but it has also helped my marriage.  It ministers to my husband when he is home on the weekends…..he doens’t want me cleaning the whole weekend.  But he also likes his home to be clean and orderly.

So for those that care…here is how I do it.  You can do this lots of ways, this way just works for me.

Start:

I have a basket in the room I am cleaning with me.  I first fill it with anything that doesn’t belong in that room.  I de-clutter all counter tops and put away anything on them.

I fill both my sinks with cleaner and hot water ( I use Lysol Multi formula). I take apart my stove and put all the pieces of it in one of the sinks of cleaner and water.  I let them soak while I continue with the kitchen.  I then use a rag and the other sink of water to wash down all the cabinets in the kitchen.  (pay close attention to the door knobs and inside too).  This will usually take off any sticky fingers and drips from cooking.  I then clean all the counters with the cleaner.  I use a spray bottle mixed with vinegar and water to clean the outside of the oven, dishwasher, microwave  (also use to clean the inside too), refrigerator and stove. 

I wash and dry all the pieces to the stove and put it back together.  I then sweep the kitchen (do not wash yet).

I then move onto the bathroom.  I spray the tub with Lysol foaming cleanser and leave it to soak for a minute.  While that is soaking I use the spray bottle (mixed with vinegar and water) to spray down the toilet. Now if you have little boys (or big boys…LOL) that sometimes miss …..this will take out the pee smell!!!!!  I spray the entire area…including the wall behind the toilet. I then wipe it down with paper towel.  I clean the tub (that has been soaking in cleaner).  I then take down all towels and hand towels and remove all rugs.  These all go down to the laundry and I start them in the washer.  I then clean the mirrors and sink ( I use the spray bottle for all these).  I then sweep the floor and move onto the next room.

Next, I move onto the bedrooms.  Now, these are already straighten up (the kids have done with while I was doing the kitchen) so I just dust them ( I use the same water that I did the cabinets in the kitchen with) and swiffer the floors ( make sure you clean under each bed too)  Everything else has been done by the kids.  I also make sure I wash down the window stills etc. 

Then I move onto the school room. I don’t have to clean up much in here because the kids did it while I was cleaning the bathroom.  I do have to first straighten the 2 adult desks.  I de-clutter and put all papers away etc.  (This doesn’t take as long as it seems to do….if you do it every week the work load is light.  If you haven’t done it in a while, I would do it the night before the big clean, so you don’t get slowed down.).   I first dust the whole room…this room has sooo much dusting….it drives me crazy…LOL.  Then I sweep the floors and swiffer them.  (Do not wash the floors yet).

I then move onto the Family Room. I first dust the whole room. I clean the door wall glass (always full of little finger prints).  Don’t forget I am bringing my basket with me to every room and filling it with ANYTHING that doesn’t belong in that room.  I make sure all DVDs are put back….children’s games etc. (This also doesn’t take long because you have been cleaning up the toys at the end of every night).

Now it is time for the floors. I have already swept and swiffered each room. I now fill up my bucket and mop all the rooms.  I start in the kitchen, move to the school room and bedrooms. The bathroom is always done last in my house…I don’t like to use the water after doing the bathroom floors. I then vacuum the family room. ( Pulling out couches etc. to get under them, pulling of cushions and cleaning under them).

I now move to the basement.  The children have already cleaned up all the toys so I just do a quick dusting and vacuum.  I only clean the basement bathroom every other week.  So if that needs to be done, I do it.

I now put away all the cleaning supplies and things in my basket. 

Things to remember….if you have ciling fans, don’t forget to dust them.  If you have mirrors, make sure you clean them.  If you have rugs in other rooms, make sure you take them to the wash.

Now, put on a cup of tea and sit down and relax!!!  Enjoy your clean house for about…..15 mins. if you are lucky. 🙂

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Cooking…..How do I get that done along with everything else?

4 01 2010

I have had many people ask me how we cook our meals in our home.  I have started doing a concept that has you cook once a for month or a couple times. 🙂  It has saved us sooooo much money and it has also saved me TONS of time.  Because of cooking with this style I have had more time to do other things…….like homeschool, read, clean and even workout. 🙂

Here is how we do it………

First I make my list of the different meals we are going to eat.  I find these Online or in a cookbook.  (We use Once-a-month Cooking by Wilson, The Freezer cooking Manual by Slagle and several others if needed).  I make 20 meals every 4 weeks.  We go to church and eat on Wednesday nights and we eat at my moms on Sundays.  I usually make 10 different meals ( I double each one to make 20 meals). I plan for 3 chicken type meals, 1 beef and one other (pork or vegetarian) for each week.  Every time I have done this we end up with enough meals for almost 5 weeks.  Something always comes up during the month or I find something on sale and we eat it instead of a pre made meal.

I then make my list of all the things I need to buy for these meals.  Yes the list is LONG.  I then separate the list by store (we buy all our meat at Sam’s Club) and make a list of the things I need to store the meals (for example, I buy the throw away metal containers for Lasagna etc., other than that I freeze everything in heavy duty Ziplock bags).

Now do your shopping!

NOw comes the fun part…..Cooking day!!!!!  I start with getting all my stuff laid out.

THen I start to cook the things that need to be cook.  FOr example I made Chicken and Rice and White Bean Chicken Chili.  Both call for cooked chicken so I cooked all the chicken together in the same pot to save on dishes and time.  🙂

I then start everything that needs to be in a crock pot ( I have 2 crockpots and both are always going during this day). 

THen I start things that go into the freezer uncooked (for example we do Heavenly Chicken, the meat is frozen raw until I choose to use it, I just assemble on my big cooking day).

I label all meals with the instructions!  This way Dave or I can just pull it out and we know what to do.  We don’t have to go look through a cookbook trying to figure out how to cook it etc.).  Also, he can make dinner with little to no help from me :).

Here is a pic of the labeled bags for Fruit Slush (a side dish).

I allow my meals to cool (if they need to) before putting int he freezer for a little bit.

NOw it is time to freeze your meals. YOu don’t need a lot of space for this!  I freeze all the meals laying flat in the freezer and just pull one out when we are ready to eat.  I then thaw it and pour it into the pan to cook 🙂 Very easy!!!!

Now the not so fun part!  Cleaning up.  Here are all my dishes I used ( and yes I made 20 meals so not too bad if you ask me).  Dave usually does the dishes for me 🙂

Here is a list of the meals I made for this month…..

Traditional Beef Stew ( 4 batches, we really love this in the winter with some warm bread)

Chicken in a pot (2 batches)

Sante Fe Chicken (2 batches)

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (2 batches)

Cranberry Chicken (1 batch)

Pizza Pasta Pie (1 batch)

Heavenly Chicken (2 batches, we LOVE this.  It has a lot of steps, but because I do it on my cooking day it doesn’t seem like so many because I have so many other things going on at the same time.  Had I not made it on a cooking day it would have seemed like a lot of work)

Chicken and Rice (2 batches)

Green Chili enchiladas (2 batches)

spinach Lasagna (2 batches)

and Four batches of Fruit Slush ( a side item to go with a meal once a week).

I then bought 10 bags of frozen veggies, a bag of potatoes, cornbread mix (a few of these) and 3 desserts (a pie, ice cream and cookies)  for under 100 dollars!!!!!!  Yup that is 25 dollars a week to feed my family (five eating people, our baby doesn’t count yet) for dinner.  And our dinners are yummy and filling! 

I will post some of the recipes that we use in the next post 🙂





Time to Freeze ladies…..

8 07 2009

In our home we LOVE to eat lots of veggies and fruit.  The only problem is in the winter months we don’t get to eat all the variety we get in the summer due to costs.  We just can’t afford to be buying strawberries, blueberries etc. at 4 or 5 dollars. 

Now is the time to freeze if you want to have that wonderful taste for a fraction of the cost!!!

Yesterday while at Meijer I stocked up on blueberries.  They are 4 for 5 dollars!  Woo Hoo, what a great price that is let me tell you!  I bought 4 packs.  I took 2 packs and washed them, then lay them on a towel to dry.  After they were dry I put them in a freezer bag.  I then freeze flat.  After frozen you can move the bag to a standing position if you need to.  We do this with almost all types of fruit…..even grapes are a great treat frozen.  If you have never done that you have to give it a try!  You can just eat grapes right out of the bag frozen and they are soooo yummy.

Now, when it comes time to eat this fruit it doesn’t defrost well just to eat.  We use it for smoothies, pancakes, muffins, yogurt etc.  It is a little soft after you defrost it, but it is perfect for baking and cooking!

So, take some extra money with you and start to stock up on these WONDERFUL foods while they are in season so that your family and enjoy them all winter long.





Summer Time Schedules

27 04 2009

Wow, this nice weather has me re-thinking our schedule.  First, little Owen needs more time to rest with it very quiet.  His room is right outside the swing set so I can’t have the older two playing there while he is sleeping.

Also, my kids are drinking tons more and eating tons more….this means I need more time planned in for meal planning.  We like to have snacks that have a carb, fruit and protein.  This way it stays in their bellies longer and they don’t get hungry as fast.  It also gives them lots of energy etc.

The older two are wanting to do too much in doors even if it is nice out.  It is like they have forgotten how to play outside. 😦  We just had a VERY long winter so it will take some time to find all the summer toys and make it fun again.  🙂  So, I feel like I am saying “go outside, don’t come inside”.  The good part is that they LOVE to do school, so I don’t feel like I am forcing them in their seats.

Isaac is in the mid 60’s for teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons.  He is doing so well and begs me to let him do his lessons!!!!  He gets very upset if he doesn’t do them before bedtime.  I have to make sure we are getting them in everyday so that he doesn’ t have a melt down.  Getting them in can be tricky, Owen has to be asleep and Grace has to be VERY quiet.  Isaac needs that 20 mins. of time to get it down and to learn.

So, I will be working on what our new schedule will look like…..fun stuff I tell you.





Organization: Your family’s weekly menu

8 04 2009

Okay, I know that just the title of this has some of you wanting to run away!  The thought of meal planning can be overwhelming as well as boring!!!!  I have to admit that this is the one thing that has kept my family running smoothly.  Being able to know at 9 am what we are having for dinner and that everything is already bought, so no last minute runs to the store, is so nice.

So, if you have never tried this before I want to urge you to do so.  In my home I like to have all lunches and dinners figured out for 2 weeks at a time.  Before the week begins I do a big shopping for two weeks.  I am able to get almost everything I need for the meals for those two weeks except for milk, bread and fresh produce for the second week.  I usually make a quick stop at the store in the middle of the two week period to pick up those few things.

For starters let me tell you how this has served my family.  When I am really sick with the preg. Dave can walk in the door and know what needs to be made for dinner with little help from me.  He also knows that I have everything ready for lunches so he can make lunch for the kids before leaving the house if I am busy schooling in the morning.  After the kids have played and schooled they are VERY hungry in this house for lunch.  It may be the biggest meal in our home on some days. 

Meal planning has given my kids LOTS of variety.  It makes me get out of the lunch rut.  You know the one where they eat P.B and J. everyday with a few sides?  I am not saying P.B. and J. is bad, but everyday I think maybe too much.  So, it has given me the freedom to do stuff in the morning knowing that lunch is already planned out.

Now, mommies let me tell you one little tip…….are you ready?  Don’t let the schedule control you….you control it!   Now, you might be thinking…..”well, duh”.  But hear me out.  I have to listen to my husband and my children on this regularly.  If they really want to have Mac and Cheese on Monday and I have it scheduled for Wednesday…..I change it sometimes!  I don’t do this all the time, but as long as all the meals are eaten that week, I let it slide.  Also, I want my husband to be excited to come home for dinner at night.  I ask him at the beginning of shopping what he would like that week to eat.  He always is willing to give ideas.  This allows me to show him love and respect during dinner time.  Also, if your husband calls and says, “Hey hun, lets go out to eat tonight.  What do you say about it?”  Let him serve you in this way!  We can get so hooked on the meal schedule we forget that it is here to serve us not us it.

Here is a post I did a while ago that maybe some help on how to actually Meal Plan.  If you want more Ideas on this check out the category for Stewardship on the right hand side of the blog.





Baby Food…For my friend Molly

25 11 2008

My friend Molly asked for some ideas on making baby food, I have made most of our baby food for our 3 children when they were babies.  I have learned a few things and thought I would pass them on.

If you have never made baby food before it is really easy.  1. peel your fruit, if needed, then add to some water and boil.  After it is VERY soft let it cool for a little bit (about 15 mins or so), then add to a blender and puree (for younger babies), less for older babies.  Then add to ice cube trays and freeze.  After frozen pop out and put in a Freezer bag, (make sure it is a freezer bag!) and keep for 3-6 months.  Most ice cube trays are 1 oz, so you know how much you have.

I would do a bunch of stuff on one day (maybe 3-4 hours of time) and make enough food for 2 months for my little ones!

Now here are some little tips I have learned as I have gone. 

1. Buy fresh when you can.  Pears, bananas, berries, peaches, avocado etc. 

2. Don’t make homemade apples.  It is so much cheaper and faster to just buy the big jar of unsweetened applesauce.

3. Don’t make bananas ahead of time, then turn REALLY yucky.  So just mash one up as needed.

4. Beware of making meat.  It might just be me, but it was HORRIBLE!!!  Now it could be that I was preg. when my second when I made this for my first, but I still to this day can not look at pureed turkey!

5. Get creative!  Go to the baby aisle and look to see what Gerber etc. has put together to be a meal.  THen just go and buy the stuff to make it at home.

6. Be care of making Carrots at home because of the possible high nitrates they could have.  We just bought these in the baby food jars, because they are already tested to make sure they are at a safe level.

Enjoy!  If you need more ideas, please leave a comment and I will respond.





Food Swap

14 10 2008

Okay ladies….I did this thing called a “food swap” a few weeks ago and I LOVED it!  It was so easy…and so much fun too!

This is how it went….we had 6 ladies that got together and each of us brought 2-3 dinner recipes that could be frozen (examples….stuffed pasta shells, chicken pot pie etc.)

Each of us took a vote on which of the 2-3 recipes we liked best of each persons.  (we thought of what our family would like and variety of the group).

Then we set a date to do a swap….we all went home and made our recipe that the group chose 6 times.  We put each one in a freezer bag and labeled it with the food and how to cook it.  We put them in the freezer.  For example I made stuffed shells with spaghetti sauce…I had 6 of them made in my freezer in freezer bags.

On the day of the swap each woman brought their meals.  We all brought them in coolers.  We then handed one meal per person.  After the swap I went home with 5 different meals…6 total, one which was the one I made.  I now have a weeks worth of meals in my freezer!

It saved so much money because I was able to buy the ingredients for my meal in bulk!  It saved so much time because it only took me 2 hours to make my meal, but I have a weeks worth of food in my freezer!  It was fun!  We had a great time picking out our meals, talking and having a good old time.

Here are some tips:

1. Try to have all the woman in your group have the same size families.  We all have 4-5 in our families so our meals are all about the same size.

2. Pick a variety of recipes.  This way you have Mexican, Italian, American etc. to eat during that week.

3. Make sure everyone is up front about what they do and don’t like.  You don’t want someone going home with a meal their family just won’t eat.

4. Try to make the meals all cost about the same amount of money.  I think that 6-8 meals should only cost you about 30-35 dollars.  (Remember you get to buy in bulk!).

5. Decide as a group what a “meal” is.  Our group decided that we would only make the main dish.  You may choose main dish + side item or main dish+dessert or all three.