For your house to stay in order, you have to make a conscious effort to stay on top of things.
If I could give advice to any new homemaker or wife/mom, it would be just that. I know it may sound like such a ridiculous thing to stay, but over my 21 years of homemaking, I've learned the hard way. Sure it's easier to let things sit until tomorrow, but tomorrow never turns out to be that day, instead things get put off until the next day, and then the next, and then it becomes overwhelming and you really struggle to finally tackle that task.
I've gotten into a very good routine and I find that if I stick to it, my house is constantly tidy, put together and clean, without needing a ton of attention on one specific day.
Sure there are days that it all goes to hell in a hand basket, days where my routine is changed because of unexpected things, or the weekend where you were out every day or spending time with family and let things slide a bit. But Monday rolls around, and I nip that right in the behind and get everything in order for the rest of the week.
Monday was one of those days for me, the weekend had been spent enjoying time with family and doing the bare necessities, so when the new week came about I rolled up my sleeves and got started. My favorite kind of day......full on homemaking.
Breakfast time:::: You can't really get anything done without some sustenance in your body. Many people skip breakfast, and I have two of those in my house. My husband and daughter never and I mean never eat breakfast, unless we are out with family for a specific breakfast, or the occasional Sunday family brunch which we used to do all the time but have since stopped and only really do it once in a while.
Me personally, I can't start my day until I've had a good cup of coffee (usually the second of the day since my first is at 6am), and something to eat. It varies but my go tos are bagels and cream cheese, toast, granola or oatmeal.
Morning tasks:::: my mornings always start in the kitchen. I feel like if I can get that room of the house put to order, everything else flows more smoothly. It's the heart of the home, the place where everyone congregates and eats and chats.
The first thing are the dishes, I empty the dishwasher, clear out the dish rack and reload any dishes from breakfast or if there's anything in the sink like crockpot, or pots that had to soak overnight.
I give my island table a wipe down as well as all the counters, throw out wrappers or empty containers that have been left out.....anyone else's kid's do this? Like, they're about to be 20 and 16 and I have this talk with them every.single.day, and yet, when I get up in the morning there are random ramen noodles sauce packets, or used paper plates, or cheese slice wrappers or whatever laying around. Story of my life!
One thing I also do every morning, is check my chalkboard for the menu plan and pull out any meat that needs to thaw for dinner, as well as go through the fridge and gather my fragments. By that I mean anything that needs to be thrown out or used up before going bad.
For instance, I had 3 bananas that had become overripe and no one would eat them, so I will use those for smoothies or banana bread. This time I made my family's favorite, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. Those fly off the plate and don't last but a day in my house, especially with the teenagers.
Here is the recipe I use, and I'll post it over on the food blog too. By the way, if you're new to my blog, and I have seen a few new faces, I also have a food blog filled with our favorite recipes. I try to keep it updated.....key word TRY. If you're interested, go on over and take a look at Full Bellies, Happy Kids!!!
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Source: Taste of Home
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium ripe bananas
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, mash the bananas. Add egg, oil and vanilla; mix well. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Add chocolate chips to your liking. I don't measure, so I add about half a cup sometimes 1 cup, it depends. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full.
2. Bake at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
These are a great way to use up bananas, and quick to get going, so I did that while I put the dishes away.
Mid-morning:::: I usually leave my laundry until Saturday and that is mainly because my husband works every day and I wait until I gather all of his work clothes so that I can then get everything done and hung back in the closet for the new week.
However, I have found that lately, there is too much laundry piled up and I spend the whole day washing, drying, folding, ironing and hanging up. Takes too much time, so I've started doing a load here and there during the week, so that it frees up my time on the weekend.
While the laundry washed, I got to cleaning. I pulled out my cleaning mixture (above) and washed the living room and kitchen windows, the dining table, the refrigerator and microwave and so on.
I've actually been meaning to share my cleaning solution with you all and just haven't gotten around to it. I've stopped buying cleaners because of the chemicals and also I found that they really aggravated my allergies. The cleaning mixture I use for all my surfaces is amazing, works really well and is cheaper to make.
For that blue bottle, I use 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of rubbing alcohol, 4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and then I fill the rest of the bottle with water. Give it a little shake and you're ready to go.
Why use the vinegar? Well as you know vinegar is amazing for cleaning and cutting grease. The alcohol is also great for cleaning but what it really does is quicken the drying time when you clean with this solution. Of course the dishwashing liquid is also good for cleaning as well as giving it a better scent in case you're not a fan of the strong scent of vinegar and alcohol. I don't have an issue with it, I'm used to it and it doesn't stick around for long, as soon as it's dry the smell disappears.
Give it this solution a try and let me know what you think.
Early and mid-afternoon:::: After lunch we get right into schooling, and once that is done I continue with any last minute chores I didn't get to in the morning. I also check the mail, work on computer stuff and start dinner prepping.
On this particular day, I went out to our mailbox and as soon as I stepped outdoors, I noticed something on the grass, right by the car, that had me scratching my head. I thought it was a mole hill, we get those quite a lot around here.
But it was darker, and just didn't look right. This my friends, is what I call the reality of living in the country......it dawned on me what it was after I got a little closer. The cow that keeps coming across to our field, decided to walk right up close to my house and leave a little present. My goodness!!!
Can you believe that?
It was quite chilly outside, not as chilly as I KNOW most of you are dealing with at the moment, and I do hope you're all staying warm and safe inside your homes. But, chilly enough for us and chilly enough to leave pretty little ice patterns on the car window.
Early Evening:::: The dinner preparations begin. I take this time to get dinner going, finish off any laundry that is in the washer or dryer, then give my laundry area a quick wipe down and close the doors for the day.
While dinner was cooking, I made a yummy chili pasta. Basically started a chili in the crockpot in the morning, and about 30 minutes before dinner time, I added in a bag of macaroni pasta to the pot and a little bit of water. It was one of those last minute changes, because I intended it to be turkey chili with cornbread but then decided why not throw in pasta and see how that turns out.
It was a huge hit, and I really enjoyed it. We usually eat our chili with rice, so this was a nice change. The hubby and kids loved it.
While the pasta was cooking in the crockpot, I once again gathered my fragments which were two cucumbers that were desperately needing to be used up, and made some quick Refrigerator Pickles. The recipe is over on the food blog too.
Great way to use up cucumber. I also set aside a few to add to the salad I served with the chili pasta.
While the pickling juice was cooking on the stove, I grabbed a box of carrot cake mix and popped that in the oven for dessert. I don't always make a dessert, matter of fact it's not really something we have often, unless there is family coming over or a special occasion, but sometimes I like to do this for my family.
And it doesn't take very long to get it all together. I used to think that there was no way I could ever make a full meal plus a dessert of some kind, but it doesn't take much effort, honestly, especially if you use boxed cake mixes (I'm not above doing that, at all).
While the cake cooked, I finished off the pickles, transferred them to mason jars and set them on the kitchen window to cool before putting in refrigerator.
I also washed all the dishes as I cooked, finished filling up the dishwasher, and set the table as well.
I like to have dinner ready for around 5pm because Curt gets home from work around that time and is usually hungry and ready to eat.
Once dinner has been finished, he always and I mean ALWAYS clears up the table for me and takes everything to the kitchen, while I start the dishes and wash the pots, clean the stove and set the kitchen to sleep for the night.
I take my shower and get into my pajamas right after that, and the day is pretty much over for me.
The rest of the night, I either watch some TV, crochet, read or lately, I've been playing Dark Age of Camelot with my husband and kids. If you remember, well, those that have been following my blog from the beginning, I used to be a gamer. Did I shock you? LOL
Most people are shocked when I tell them this. But really, I was. I played with my husband all the time when Jasmine was a baby and right after Nick was born too. On Friday we found out that our old game is available to play for free, and so we've all been playing for an hour or so each night.
It may seem crazy, but I believe that the secret to a happy life and happy family, is to not be selfish and only want to do what you like and enjoy. Sometimes you have to try and compromise and do something your husband and children like, even if it's not your first choice of entertainment.
They've all played games for years, they play together, they play separate and so on. I don't. I stopped around 2006 I think, and never really played again. So while my first choice of entertainment after a day of homemaking, would rather be to lay in bed and read or watch tv, they really want me to play and so I am. Surprisingly, I've been having such a great time, and the kids have been telling their friends how they play games with their parents, which the friends find AMAZING. Hahahah
Anyway, this post is super long and I think it's time to end it. I really do hope you've enjoyed a peek at my usual homemaking days and what my routine/schedule tends to look like.
As always, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, and a very big welcome to the new faces around here.
Blessings to you all,