Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Managing Housework

Face it, housework is one of those things that is never done. Once you complete one task it is on to another while all of the work you just completed is being undone by someone else in the house. There are methods of doing housework which make it so you aren't cleaning every second of everyday. Here is one such method.

Begin by listing all of the tasks that need to be done on a daily basis. This list should include but is not limited to: Wash dishes, sweep kitchen floor, make bed, tidy bedrooms, and tidy family/living rooms.

Now list things that need to be done on a regular basis (every couple of days or once a week) like vacuum floors, mop floors, dust, laundry, clean bathrooms, deep clean kitchen, etc.

Once you have your housework listed in those two groups it is time to divide the housework up among the days of the week. You have your daily chores and those never change but now you need to assign the "regular" jobs a day of the week. For example:

Monday: Deep clean kitchen, mop kitchen floor, washes kitchen rags.
Tuesday: Wash kids laundry, vacuum
Wednesday: Wash adult’s laundry, mop
Thursday: Dust, go grocery shopping and run errands, vacuum floors
Friday: Clean bathrooms, wash bath towels and sort through papers.
Saturday: Clean bedrooms, wash bed linens
Sunday: Enjoy the day off.

You may have more or less tasks to assign depending on your household. Now, the key to having time for you is only doing the assigned task on the assigned day. You must complete the everyday jobs before you move onto the assigned day jobs. Some days you might not be able to complete all of the assigned day jobs due to illness or other unexpected events. If this is the case, don't play catch up on another day; wait until the day rolls around again or until you have extra time you don't mind using. When you feel comfortable, start adding in the monthly tasks (tasks done once a month), quarterly tasks (things done every 3 months), bi-annually tasks, and tasks done once a year. Once you get into a rhythm you will find it easier to maintain your home.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cute as a Bug Card

I previously mentioned a new stamp set I got in a post about the phrase "cute as a bug." I finally got to use the set today. It takes me forever to make cards when I'm the one designing it so, I cheat and copy cards that other people have made. This card I copied from megala3178 who posted it at Splitcoast Stampers. I love, love, love it and, I think it is way cuter than a bug as is the baby whose mother will be receiving this card.I'm grateful to those of you who share your creative genius so I can re create it myself. I used different colors and paper but the layout is basically the same.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No Knead Bread

I love to bake bread but sometimes I don't want to go through all of the work involved. A friend of mine sent me this and it looks like my type of bread. It looks like it would be something easy enough for kids to do alone.

No-Knead Bread
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1 1/2 tsp salt Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Declutter and Organizing your Home

How a home looks on the inside is often a reflection of how the owner feels about themselves. De cluttering and organizing your home may be a daunting task but as you work through it you will feel better about yourself and your home. Here are some tips for getting started.

Do you have a room or a closet which the door always remains closed and if a friend opened the door you would be mortified by what they would see? You are not alone. It doesn't have to be this way. Start with this room or closet within this room. Start small and pick a corner of the room and start there. Pick up something and make one of three choices: keep, give away/sell, or trash. Create three piles.

  • Keep-Items to keep are items which you use often and they have a purpose.
  • Give Away-Items to sell or give away are items which still work and someone else could find a use for. Sell the item in a garage sale or donate it to a charity.
  • Trash-Items to trash are items which are broken (that you will never fix), no longer have a purpose, or just plain garbage. You would be surprised at how much paper you can accumulate.

    If you have the ability to do the entire room in one day great. If not, work on a section each day until the task is complete. Once you complete this room move onto the next until eventually you have cut back on the clutter through out your house.
Don't let it get so bad that you loose control and end up on a show like this.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cute as a Bug?

I received a new Stampin Up Stamp set yesterday titled Cute as a Bug. It made me think, cute as a bug? Really? How many bugs have you seen that are cute? Is this bug cute?
Or how about this bed bug?
This big guy is pretty cute right?
I've heard people use the phrase "cute as a bug" to describe a new baby. Maybe they are using the phrase and being completely honest. Let's face it, some newborn babies really aren't that cute. They look like little aliens. So, maybe someone is trying to sound like they are giving a compliment when really they are just being quite honest when they say "oh, he is just as cute as a bug".
Speaking of babies...I never understood the phrase "slept like a baby". Babies wake up every 2-3 hours to eat. I don't want to wake up that often I'd rather sleep like the father of the Newborn baby. You can count on him snoring through the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes. Yep, I want to sleep just like him, not a newborn baby.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review of Hunts No High Fructose Corn Syrup Ketchup

I will admit that when it comes to selecting foods for my family I'm not one to care if it is organic or not. I read labels when it comes to calories, fat, vitamins, and such but I don't really pay attention to the ingredient list. There has been a movement lately to cut High Fructose Corn Syrup out of foods. I'm not sure I understand why. I haven't really read or researched it. I do know that there are studies saying it is bad for you but there are also studies counter acting that. With that said, I recently tried Hunts Tomato No High Fructose Corn Syrup Ketchup. When it comes to flavor, it has it. It tastes like ketchup to me. I usually only buy Heinz. I do know that I don't like the store brands I have bought in the past but the Hunts tasted great to me.

When looking at the ingredient list and comparing it to Heinz ketchup it looks like Hunts removed the HFCS and added sugar instead.
Both brands have the same amount of sugar grams and sodium. The Hunts has 5 more calories and 1 more total carb.

Really, if you care about the HFCS and don't want it in your food then Hunts is an excellent choice of ketchup. As I sit here typing this I'm tasting both. Heinz is a little thicker but when it comes to flavor I think the Hunts tastes slightly more like tomatoes and Heinz is a little "tangier". I don't even think that is a word so I'm adding it to my dictionary to mean: more tangy.
I think it is time for me to put the ketchup down and do some research on HFCS pros and cons.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Importance of Having Fun as a Family

I get so wrapped up in the tasks of running a household (laundry, dishes, cooking, etc) that I forget to just take the time and have fun with my kids. A couple of years ago my nephews received a Nerf Dart Tag game for Christmas and my husband and I had so much fun playing with them that we went and got our own. I came across a box today that had the game in it and pulled it out. We only had 2 guns and with 5 of us able to play it just wasn't enough. So, we loaded up and went to the store and bought 4 more guns (an extra for when the baby is old enough). We got all dressed up in the Velcro vests, loaded our guns and just had fun shooting at each other and trying to dodge incoming bullets. It was great to spend time as a family laughing and having fun. Everyone was enjoying themselves. Because of this time together I feel like we created a great memory and strengthened our family ties.
I'm not saying you have to go get Nerf guns and shoot each other but find something that your family likes to do together and do it. It will bring your family closer together and create lasting memories. Plus, it's good for children to see their parents relax and have a little fun.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Paid Focus Groups

I have previously mentioned getting paid to take surveys and getting paid to mystery shop but did you know you can get paid to be a part of a focus group? There are many companies willing to pay individuals to be a part of focus groups which study everything from consumer products to health care. As always, you may encounter third parties wanting to charge you for a listing of these companies but you can find all of these companies on your own. I have found 2 sites though which list these companies free of charge.

Check out Volition and Paid Focus Groups and register at companies near you. They will contact you when there is a group they want you to participate in.

I have participated in 2 different groups so far. Both were fun and enlightening. We met at a location and they gave us snacks and drinks and then we gathered around a table and discussed the topics at hand. I got paid $100 for 2 hours of my time with the first one and $70 for 2 hours the second one. And, they pay in cash at the end of your time. I can't wait for the next one.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I always procrastinate doing teacher appreciation gifts but really, not by choice. The school always lets us know the dates the first day of the week and then I work frantically all week long making the gifts.

For Na's teacher we actually gave her the ABC Scentsy warmer and 2 bars of wax instead of something homemade. Unfortunately she can't use the warmer at school but she still loved it and I'm sure her home will smell great during the summer.

Bub's teacher will be receiving a cute box filled with some homemade cards. His teachers aide will be getting a clipboard.

I also made a clipboard for the art teacher and the GT teacher. Next year, or maybe next week, I will make boards for the music, PE, and Science teachers. For instructions on making the clipboard go here.

Want something smaller? For a tutorial on making a chocolate nugget box go here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Letter to all New Moms

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations on your new arrival! Your life as you knew it has changed forever but as you look down on your little bundle of joy you know just like I knew, it changed for the better. If there is one piece of wisdom I could pass onto you it would be: Remember, this too shall pass.

The lack of sleep in the middle of the night will eventually pass. The first night your little one sleeps through the night you will wake up in a panic thinking something is wrong but you will soon realize your baby is managed to sleep 6-8 hours straight.

The crying does stop. Eventually they will go from crying to whining to grunting. Just be patient, it will pass.

If your baby spits up, about the time you start solids regularly it will slow down and eventually stop.

When your baby is crawling and putting small things in their mouth remember, this too shall pass (so long as it is actually swallowed and not stuck).

Most importantly, the time your little one is little will go by all too quickly so take the time to just enjoy your baby, because this too shall pass into a teenager.


a Mom who wishes the time wouldn't pass so fast.

Mama's Losin' It

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

To All the Moms

This Mother's Day I will be thinking about my Mom. I'm so grateful to her and all the sacrifices she made that I didn't realize until I was a mother myself. I will also be thinking about all the other Mother's in the world who serve as an inspiration of motherhood to me.

Click here to read the Nie Nie Dialogues

Monday, May 3, 2010

Learning to Crochet

A couple of weeks ago I won an adorable crocheted hat from The Mommy Trials. It inspired me to learn to crochet... again. I learned to knit a year ago and I tried to teach myself to crochet in December but gave up because I couldn't get my fingering or tension right. After receiving this little masterpiece I knew I couldn't give up forever. So, I got lots of books from the library and set myself to task. The book that helped me the most was How to Crochet for Dummies.

I'm now feeling more confident in my crochet abilities and can't stop crocheting.

The first project I crocheted was this adorable cap. I couldn't stop at one though so I actually made 3. Here Kmae is modeling the hat I made for her.

Assured in my hat making abilities I switched gears and made this baby blanket for a nephew that will be joining the family this summer.

I'm excited to see what other patterns I can find and make.

My friend tells me I have crossed to the dark side now that I'm doing a lot of crochet. I still prefer knitting because I think it is easier to do the different designs and it looks prettier. However, I can finish a crocheted piece much faster and it is so much easier to fix my mistakes.

If you don't know how to crochet you can still get your hands on hats like the one I won above by visiting Mommy Trials Etsy shop Stylish Sweethearts. She also sells some beautiful car seat covers too.