Thursday, January 24, 2008

Organized Thursdays

This week at Between the Worlds, the topic for Organized Thursdays is chores. Karen asks us to share our system for getting regular housework done along with how you get your kids to help out (or prepare for their future).

Let me first say that out of all the things to do in life doing chores (or at my house we call them "responsibilities") is not one of the top things on my “to do list”! Personally, I would rather read a book or bake some cookies than clean! But after growing up in a home where my parents are "pack rats" and deciding that when I had my own house and family that I was not going to follow in their ways, I strive to have a decent, clean, and relatively(hard to have it totally with having kids!) clutter free home. Also I am married to a man, who I love dearly, and is a perfectionist, so everything has to have a place.

Before we had kids, dh and I had decided that we were not going to allow the kids to "play" or have toys in their bedrooms. We were going to have a place in the corner of the living room or basement that could be their playroom. The rule is that the bedrooms are for book reading and sleeping, basically they are kept as a "little quiet getaway" for everyone. I can't tell you how much I am glad that we have done that! It makes the cleaning of bedrooms so much easier.

So with those things in mind, let me tell you what I have come up with for a system for those daily responsibilities.

I have broken down the responsibilities into 3 groups--morning, afternoon, after dinner. This way we are not taking all day and we have time for other things (like school work!)

The morning responsibilities are:
  • make beds
  • vacuum bedrooms and living room
  • clean up kitchen--this is a quick clean after breakfast making sure that the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher and the floor is swept.
  • clean the bathrooms(sweep floor, clean sink, mirror, and toilet)

The afternoon responsibilities are:

  • pick up play room
  • take care of clean clothes in laundry baskets--this only happens on laundry day.
  • set table for dinner
  • clean up kitchen--another quick clean and lunch dishes

The after dinner responsibilities are:

  • clean up kitchen-- I love waking up in the morning to a clean kitchen!
  • sweep eating area/kitchen floor
  • quick pick up of the playroom(if needed)
  • take care of trash and recycle

The above list is what is done on a daily basis. Then on Saturday mornings, the whole family works together and does a deep cleaning of the playroom, the kitchen, and the bathrooms. Saturdays is also when the ceiling fans, furniture, and knick-knacks get dusted.

Now you are probably wondering..."she does all that by herself in a day's time plus home-schools plus has time for her dh and even takes time for herself?"

To answer your wondering....NO! I delegate!! The kids are old enough now that I am more of a trainer/overseer of the responsibilities rather than doing everything myself. I take care of my bedroom, the laundry, and the mopping of the kitchen floor. All the above responsibilities listed are done by my kids! As a part of this family, they have a responsibility to help us work together to have a clean, healthy, and orderly environment. I don't want my kids once they have their own place not knowing how to keep a place clean and orderly. They are learning now that helping to do the mundane every day responsibilities is a way of life. On the home-school front, I classify it as "Home Ec class"!

I have found this system to work well for us. If we are going to have company, it only takes us about a 1/2 hour to go thru the house and do a quick pick-up and clean of our "hot spots".

To find out what system works for others in doing their chores/responsibilities, head over to Between the Worlds.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

This is my first WFMW, I have loved reading other blogs that do it so I thought I would join in on the fun!

I am sure that everyone has a system in how they conquer "Mount Laundry" that collects at their house! I have a system that involves getting my kids in helping to care for the laundry. I have it where each of the kids' rooms has its own laundry "basket"(I use plastic milk crates) for dirty laundry. Each day it is the responsibility of my 4yo to collect the dirty laundry from each of the rooms and put it into the big hamper that I store/use in the master bedroom closet. Then I bring the hamper down to the laundry room and sort it into two baskets. If it is a laundry day then I use the washer as another "basket" so that a load can be started.

Once the laundry is all washed and dried, it needs to be folded and put away! I have a laundry folding table that has 5 small plastic baskets from the dollar store for each of my kids. When I fold the clean laundry, the kids' clothes get put into their respective basket and they are responsible for taking care of it! Whenever they come to me and say "I don't have any socks!". My response is, "Have you taken care of your basket?". More times than not, they will find a full basket and socks are in there for them.

Usually the rest of the folded laundry is up to me to take care of it. However, I am working at training them to help take care of the rest of the items that end up folded on the table so that the table is stacked with clothes ALL week long! I am also training my older boys to work the wash machine and dryer!

So this is what works for me in in conquering "Mount Laundry". It is what has worked best for me with having 5 kids. Sometimes I wonder if I could do it a better way! Hummm...wonder what I could change?!

So what is your system? Is there something you would change about how you do laundry? Do you find yourself buried in mountains of laundry?

For other WFMW tips/posts, head over to Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

The last couple weeks for Kitchen Tips, I have talked about freezer meals and how long to store foods in the freezer. For this week's tip, I wanted to talk about how I store pantry items that I buy in bulk.

We like having ice cream, esp. homemade chocolate shakes, at our house so I get ice cream in 5qt. pails! Once the ice cream is gone, I wash and dry the pails good. I then reuse the 5qt. pails for my flour (all purpose and bread), sugar (white, brown, 10x), powdered milk, and oatmeal that I buy in bulk from Sam's Club.

I also found that the pails are good for storing bags of dry beans or other poly bag type things(like small bags of candy or baking chips!) so the items don't get crushed or lost in the pantry.

For some of the smaller quantities items (like wheat flour) I reuse 5lb margarine tubs.

Also, I have heard that you can go to Sam's/Costco's bakery and ask them for their big tubs that they get frosting in to be able to take home and reuse for bulk items. I haven't tried this yet because I have found that for me using the 5qt. pails has worked better for my pantry space.

The main reason why I use plastic pails/tubs over glass jars is because I have "little hands" that like to be my helpers. I have had those "little hands" drop too many jars that have broken in their short life so I find the plastic route to be safer. :)

Oh and just in case you are curious about how I make homemade chocolate shakes, here is the recipe.

Vanilla ice cream(for our family-it takes 1/2 gallon)
Hershey's chocolate syrup (amount depends on how chocolatey you want it!)
Milk(amount depends on how thick you want it!)

Put all in the blender and mix up!

If you have a thick shake you can chop up your favorite candy bar and stir into your shake once you have put in the blender and make a homemade DQ Blizzard. :)

For more tips, head over to Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

**This is just a plan and plans have the ability to change at the cook's discretion! Last week's plans seemed to go well, however, I am getting bored with menus!! I am getting complaints for my crew that they are wanting some new, exciting and delicious meals! So this week I am on a quest! My quest has three parts: 1. To find new recipes that my crew will eat! 2. To try some new things mixed in with some of our favorite comfort foods. and 3. To make the new things from items that I have on hand rather than having to spend money at the grocery store. The weather has been downright cold these last few days so I am going to work at getting in some soups/stews and other dishes that will warm our cold bones!! So I am looking for new recipes like taco soup, anyone have a Tried & True recipe for it??

Lunches listed are for the kids and I as dh usually takes dinner leftovers each day.

A special thanks to Laura-The Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus, go check others out at her site!**

Breakfast: eggs, hashbrowns, cinnamon rolls, sausage links or steak(for dh)
Lunch: chicken noodle soup out of can
Dinner: breaded chicken tenders and stuffed chicken(chicken kiev or chicken & broccoli), fries, and baby carrots
Snack: snack basket

Breakfast: cereal and poptarts
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: ??? Looking for some inspiration!!! :)
Snack: homemade cookies & milk

Breakfast: waffles, sausage links
Lunch: sandwiches and chips
Dinner:chicken club sandwiches, oven baked seasoned potato wedges, green beans
Snack: "snack-basket"

Breakfast: cereal and muffins
Lunch: leftover spaghetti
Dinner: chicken rice soup, and homemade honey oatmeal bread
Snack: trail mix

Breakfast: pancakes, eggs, and ham
Lunch: breaded chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese
Dinner: Swedish Meatballs(new recipe), egg noodles, peas
Snack: "snack basket" or yogurt

Breakfast: cereal and donuts
Lunch: sandwiches and chips
Dinner: hoagie bun pizzas
Snack: homemade chocolate shakes

Breakfast: "Cook's Choice"
Lunch: ????? it's the weekend anything goes!
Dinner: hamburger gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, and biscuits
Snack: popcorn

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Singing Sunday

**This morning's church service was powerful!! My Pastor talked about the Prayer of Jabez found in 1Chronicles 4. And how we are to ask God for provision("bless me"), for privilege("enlarge my territories"), for promotion("let your hand be with me"), and for protection("keep me from harm"). In Him Alone will we find the strength to expand our territories for Him! Something that my Pastor pointed out that I found soooo interesting....

My math looks like this: My abilities + experience + training + my personality and appearance + my past + the expectations of others=my assigned territory

God's math looks like this: My willingness and weakness + God's will and supernatural power = my expanding territory

God wants us to live for Him and Him alone!!! So the following song fits very well with the message that I heard today!!

In Christ Alone
by Brian Littrell

In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won
For I’ve been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone I’ll overcome
Oh, I could stop and count successes
Like diamonds in my hands
But those trophies could not equal
To the grace by which I stand

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone

In Christ alone will I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
For only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness to my need
And now I seek no greater honor in just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone
Is Christ alone