12 Mom Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Clean

You know what I disagree with? These signs…


My kids might be happy but I’m probably not. I don’t need perfection but when my home is a mess, I start to feel like a mess! 

Good mom’s can also have clean floors, clean kitchens, clean laundry, clean ovens and happy kids. You can have a clean kitchen, clean oven and dirty laundry… Or any variety. It doesn’t all have to be clean but it doesn’t all have to be dirty either. 

It may not seem possible but it is. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old and 10 month old to prove it. 

Here are some cleaning hacks to get you started.

How to keep your kitchen clean:

1) Start your morning by unloading the dishwasher. 

2) Clean as you cook or prepare meals and snacks.

3) Wash pans right away.

4) Keep cupboards and drawers closed.  

5) Keep the dishwasher loaded and then unloaded. If it’s full then stack dishes next to the sink until they can be loaded. Or keep them stacked until you can handwash them.

6) Try decreasing the amount of dishes you have to one plate and one bowl per person.  This limits the amount of dishes piling up.

7) Keep Clorox wipes on hand. If a spill is made toss one on the floor and scrub with your foot… To avoid sticky floors. Or use them for a quick counter wipe down.

8)To limit messes throughout other areas of the house, make your kids eat at the table. Baby Bjorn bibs are my favorite for keeping my boys clean and crumb free. 

9)Have your kids bring their dishes to the sink and wipe down the table when they are done (even my two year does this). 

10) Keep chairs pushed in at the table. 

11) If crumbs are made, do a quick sweep under the table. 

12) Wipe down your appliances once a week

Whether you like to cook or not, the kitchen and dining area is the center of the home, because everyone eats (especially our messy kiddos). Keep up on the kitchen and it’s the start of avoiding sticky floors and messy kitchens. It’s very important to teach our kids at a young age to clean. 

Let me know how it goes and stay tuned for some more cleaning hacks. 

Love, 

Another mom, just trying to keep things neat. 

Seeing the Special in Life

When I watch a good romance or read a sweet story it reminds me of when I first met and dated my husband. I get nostalgic for what seems like such a long time ago.

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In the meeting/ dating world there is still the busyness of life but most free time is spent getting to know each other, BE together, talk about life, scrounging up change to do something even when money is tight.

Dating moves to engagement and the excitement of all to come. The adventures you’ll have. The children born.

Then suddenly time is flying with marriage, work, children, home ownership, and all free time seems to go toward getting stuff done. Oil to be changed, lawn to be mowed, groceries to be bought, side jobs to help pay for Christmas, kids to play with, feed, clothe and the tiredness… oh the tiredness!

Life becomes like clockwork. Instead of spending evenings at the movies or out laughing over a cup of coffee, they are spent tucking little boys into bed and fighting off nausea from all day morning sickness while ignoring the pile of laundry needing to be folded.

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When I let myself “go there” I start to miss those days gone by because all those firsts were “magical.” The first date, the first time he reached over and grabbed my hand during a movie, the first hug, the first kiss. Dancing together. Laughing together. Making so many memories as the start and foundation of our relationship.

I easily get caught up remembering the good but somehow forget the difficulties. When I turned him down not once but twice when he asked me to be his girlfriend. When I didn’t feel important to him and we broke up for 4 days because I didn’t tell him what was wrong. When we struggled through keeping ourselves for marriage when it was so fun to make out. The tears we cried in difficult situations.

That time of dating, as wonderful as it was, was hard. Dating is a time of the unsure. Unsure if the other person likes us as much as we like them. Unsure if we are a good match. Fear of the unknown!

Now though, I realize how much safer and secure I feel. I love my husband so much more as we’ve grown together as a couple. He is such a great provider and father to our boys and it proves to me that I married a wonderful man!  Marriage for me is a much safer place. I have far less doubts and many more memories to cherish.

Date 3

Last night I laid on the couch with an upset stomach, the boys were in bed and we watched a movie while my husband sat on the floor teaching himself to knit and it didn’t seem that special.

But today as I once again reflect upon our life together I think about the future… when our kids are grown and gone, the happiness and hardships we will experience over the coming years, aging, the changes to come, and I realize how one day I will look upon these years as the magical ones too…

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A night when we were still young (not yet 30), our two healthy, happy boys tucked cozily into bed, in the home we own, watching a movie, talking about life, resting because I’m blessed with another baby boy in my womb, my hardworking husband taking the time to learn how to knit. Such a simple night together but such a special one at that!

“…the things we do together don’t have to be particularly meaningful or exalted to be special.” – Katrina Kenison

Daring Greatly

“Nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I am standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”Brené Brown

When we step outside of our comfort zone is when the magic happens and we are able to dare greatly!

This is how I imagine my life – just a little too uncomfortable with myself to experience the magic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m crazy blessed and happy BUT I sure need to loosen up a bit a lot!

This afternoon, as I was thinking of who I want to be as a person, I looked up and saw Brené Brown’s book on vulnerability, Daring Greatly. Suddenly, the title had a whole new meaning to me.

That’s the kind of woman I want to be – I want to Dare Greatly – not only in vulnerability but in all areas of my life. I want to move out of my comfort zone and start taking the steps I need to become the person I want to be!

I always doubt. Am always unsure. Can’t quite wrap my mind around any direction or path I am supposed to be taking. In limbo is a good description of how I perceive myself as a person.

I dwell so much on what other people think of me. Do they like my writing? My art? Me? I always have guilt and get so uptight and stressed I unconsciously clench my teeth until my head hurts and my back is a bunch of painful knots.

The constant inner reflection of guilt, awkwardness, being scared, etc. is not the person I want to be. I want to embrace myself as I am, put all these fears on the shelf and be brave instead.

I want to Dare Greatly!

I want to call more and text less (I’ve always thought it was awkward to talk on the phone so I tend to avoid it).

I want to be a good friend even when I’m unsure where our relationship stands.

I want to do art whether I or anyone else think it’s beautiful or not.

I want to get out and water my garden even though my natural inclination is to let Caleb do it.

I want to eat healthy because I know I am capable! I know how to cook which solves a lot of problems.

I want to be active! I rode my bike across the U.S. and summited Mt. Hood so I know I am fully capable of pushing myself hard – even if it’s to get off my bum and take a walk.

I want to encourage other people with their goals and help them when I can.

I want to create the feeling of home no matter where we live.

I want to volunteer somewhere and serve.

I want to find God’s purpose for my life.

I want to be a better wife and mother.

I want to be more generous.

I want to be more loving and patient.

I want to laugh more and stress less.

These are all attributes I want my children to have – but how will they learn if I don’t teach them.

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“…who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.” Brené Brown.

I want to be an example to my sons so they too can lead a good life. I want to LIVE while I’m alive because there are so many who don’t get this opportunity.

I need to get out of the rut I am stuck in and stop dwelling on what I can’t do… and JUST DO what I can so I can BE who I want.

If I Want To Be, I Have To Do

No one changes without effort. So I choose to Dare Greatly.

“…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” -Theodore Roosevelt

Being Intentional: Sleep

I am TIRED!

Bet you haven’t said that before… ha!

This is my daily mantra – maybe even my hourly one.

The problem is as soon as my boys are in bed I get a second wind. I am FREE! To read, to write, to watch a movie, play a board game, to clean in peace (OK this is one is a lie).

Then when I start to fade I’m practically taping my eyelids open so I can finish the last page 200 pages of whatever book I’m reading.

If only my body stored sleep reserves like it does fat, I'd be sorted! (Or maybe not as it's 1am and I'm on Pinterest instead of in bed asleep, hmmm)

According to my Fitbit, my average night of sleep is 4 hours 59 minutes to about 6 hours. That’s not good…

I am more irritable, fatigued and discouraged just about every day following a too late night (99% of the time). Then I don’t have any desire to leave my house or socialize – which in turn makes me not want to leave ever – until I’m pretty much a crabby hermit.

So… the other night I stayed up nice and late reading the book Living with Intent by Mallika Chopra.

And it hit me – I need to be intentional not only in filling myself with words of wisdom and biblical truths, eating healthy, exercising and doing art but also in getting rest! I need SLEEP! Even if it means going to bed at 9:30pm to be up with my early rising boys by 6am.

No this does not thrill me BUT if I’m more energized and a better mother (less irritable) then I know it will be worth it. It could be the key to a little more joy and peace in my life. Also I’ve read it helps you lose weight which would be a nice bonus too…

In the theme of Chopra’s book I will state my intent: For the next few weeks – starting Sunday (since we will be off visiting family) – I am going to take my sleep life more seriously! I hope to see quick results because it’s going to be a tough road and I just may fall off the bandwagon… wish me luck!

Lol....I remember this time. But I'm blessed with a baby that enjoyed sleep as much as the hubby did. But those for couple months were rough. Gotta love this quote though :)

If I Want To Be, I Have To Do

My new mantra is: If I want to BE, I have to DO.

So often I think, say, or ask myself (and others): What do I do?

I want to be an artist. What do I do?

I want to be a photographer. What do I do?

I want to be a singer/ songwriter. What do I do?

I want to have a cleaner house. What do I do?

I want to be healthy. What do I do?

I want to be active. What do I do?

I want to be a good mom. What do I do?

I want to have friends. What do I do?

I want to sell stuff on Etsy. What do I do?

I want to be a more loving wife. What do I do?

There are tons more I could list but these are some of the main questions applying to me…

I’ve realized something though. The answer is pretty much always DO.

If I want to BE (blank), I have to DO the work – like the Nike slogan, “Just Do It.”

So here are some answers for you (and me):

I want to be an artist – so DO Art – draw, paint, color, cut, create!

I want to be a photographer – so Do it – take pictures, pictures and more pictures – whether you have a nice camera or not! This isn’t even a good picture but it’s a PICTURE! It’s a start!

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I want to be a singer/ songwriter – so DO it – write a song about anything – your breakfast, a unibrow – then sing it, practice, write more, sing more!

I want to be cleaner – so DO it – stop laying on the floor with your teddy bear reading that awesome book and wash the dishes, sweep the floor, get rid of clutter, put your cup in the sink, rinse off your plate!

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I want to be healthy – DO it – make changes, eat less processed foods, stop when you’re full, drink water!

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I want to be active – DO it – go to the gym, go on a walk, a run, yoga, biking, hula hoop, swim in this crazy heat!

I want to be a good mom – DO it – we are good parents but can always improve, read up on it, ask questions, practice patience and practice it more, pray, learn to find joy in the mundane… in a sweet baby smile!

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I want to have friends – DO it – be friendly, become part of a community where you can meet people, get involved, volunteer, smile more (from your eyes), be a friend!

I want to sell stuff on Etsy – DO it – make stuff, collect vintage items, do art – then list, list, list and wait (while making more)!

I want to be a more loving spouse – DO it – hug your hubby/ wife when they walk through the door even if you’ve had a bad day and subconsciously blame them (yep, I didn’t greet my man yesterday), do a chore, buy a gift, spend time, hold hands, play a game, laugh!

I want to be a better person – so DO it – make the changes you need to better yourself, push yourself to accomplish things you normally slack on, DO, DO and DO! We can only improve if we DO the work to BE better.

These are all things I need to remind myself too! We need to stop asking What To Do and Just Do!

Let’s say goodbye to that old self and bring on some action and change! If we want to BE, we have to DO!

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“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” – Henri Bergson

Letting Go of Gluttony

I’ve gained weight.

In a previous post on Intuitive Eating I recommended the book “How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too,” by Josie Spinardi. A book I still find very good! At the time of the post I was 151 pounds, now I am back up to the 157-160 pound range I was stuck in before…sigh. This may sound like Intuitive Eating doesn’t work BUT, as with all things, you still have to “follow through” for changes to occur.

So – in order to better honor my waistline – I have decided to cut back on the holiday celebrations. Some days baking is the only option to celebrate with my boys and making three goodies in a row isn’t very effective in the “I’m trying to shed a few pounds and keep them off” world. Autumn3 I do LOVE sweets and don’t intend to cut them out of my diet but just because I “can” eat a dessert everyday (in moderation) doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strengthen my Intuitive Eating muscles before leaving a full plate of cookies on my counter alongside gooey toffee bars alongside Ding Dong Bundt Cake…

So I am going to stick with celebrations not involving food, or at least avoid so many sweet ones at this point!

And honestly I have been discouraged. I want to say, “I am content to stay this weight forever! I am happy with me and accept myself as I am!” I absolutely need to accept myself but the reality is – if I don’t figure this eating stuff out now, even if I only gain 5 pounds a year, in 12 years I could have gained 60 pounds – putting me at 220 when I’m 40!

Between having kids (which already leaves me way less active) and metabolism slowing down with age – I don’t know if my eating will maintain this current weight or if gradually the pounds will start sneaking on. Autumn Lucky for me my library always has great books on display, and I came across the book “It Was Me All Along: A Memoir” by Andie Mitchell. Andie’s story is her weight gain/ weight loss journey. She lost over 100 pounds without cutting anything from her diet – just eating in moderation and being more active.

I won’t say it’s a “happy happy” book because there is definitely some sadness – like her breaking up with the man she calls her best friend because she doesn’t have romantic feelings for him anymore – which I found disappointing!

Either way she had some wonderful insights and encouraged me in my fight for a healthier life!

My favorite line of the book was, “Another plate wouldn’t have brought me any greater satisfaction, because contentment doesn’t double by the serving.”  

This really hit a nerve – the contentment of “one” cupcake doesn’t double if I have TWO!? I realized how much a second or third serving, in so many foods, actually brings discontent because I’m left with so much regret and guilt!   Autumn2 I absolutely want to learn to be content with who I am, right here, right now (which is a process in itself) because even though it seems like it, weight loss isn’t going to make me happier. I do want to make changes though, so I can be healthier as well as setting a good example for my children!

I want to come to the place where eating a dessert (or any food for that matter) can be described as Andie does in her book, “…it was delightful. I’d made it special; I’d enjoyed it, and because of that – the eating lacked regret.”

A Lesson On Gratitude

This past weekend we took a mini vacation to the Seattle area. It was a fun break as well as an opportunity to see a close friend who was visiting from the East Coast.

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One of the best parts of our trip was exploring Whidbey Island.

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Jeffrey, as well as most children I assume, loves to stop and look at everything when we are out and about. It’s a constant “come on Jeffrey, hurry up, let’s go, come on buddy.”

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As we headed toward the beach we passed through an area covered with dandelions. Jeffrey kept stopping to look and pick them – but we hurried him along so we could see the next thing – and besides, they’re “just weeds”.

DSC_0533Fast forward to our return home…

On a walk yesterday afternoon, with a combination of being tired and hot, Jeffrey didn’t stop to look at anything around us.

Within a day he went from finding joy in the dandelions to being totally unaware of his surroundings.

A wave of sadness hit me, I became aware of how fast my “baby” is growing up and how his young toddler curiosity will one day be gone.

Then it hit me – flashbacks of all the times I rush my little boy.

And I realized – every stop to look at a weed, pick up smooth colorful rocks, or point out a water fountain in a neighbor’s yard – is an expression of gratitude. He is actually “seeing” the beauty in everything and is present in the moment – completely aware of what’s around him – which does not hold true for myself.

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It is so easy for me to hurry along life – even with no pressing demands. Because of my inability to stand there, wait and see new things for myself, I am teaching my children to stop looking for the beauty. I am training them to be like me and so many other adults – those of us who don’t see the loveliness in an abundance of bright yellow dandelions, pink and purple pebbles in someone’s yard or the many black sprinkler heads peeping up through the grass… the things that matter so much to our little ones!

I don’t want my children to lose this wonderful quality – gratitude – the ability to really “see” everything.

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Immediately I started pointing out things for Jeffrey to look at – things I would normally miss myself – flowers among weeds, the cool breeze brushing against us, a decorative teal bike hidden in the bushes of a creative person’s yard.

We need to embrace and affirm the wonder of our children and how they perceive the world around them. To consciously slow down and let our kiddos take the joy of life, living in the moment, and “seeing” beauty into their adulthood.

DSC_0525 “Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…. Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.” – Ann Voskamp, “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are”