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

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

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St.Paddy2[1]My family has always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day – I have fond memories of notes and treats left by our very own Leprechaun.

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I have carried on the tradition in my own home but this year was even more special because through AncestryDNA I found out I am 33% Irish! How fun is that?

Our own little Leprechaun visited tonight. Using my Cricut I made a Leprechaun with a pot of gold. I taped him to the window, snapped a picture, then removed him.

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When Caleb came home I had them sit on the couch so I could take a “picture.” Then I told Jeffrey, “Did you see that!? There was a Leprechaun in the window!” He was looking around trying to see – so I showed him the image on my camera as if I had captured a picture before the Leprechaun disappeared.

This is what the Leprechaun left on the window ledge (drawings by Caleb).

“Hi Little Jeffrey, Hi Little Jack, I brought you a treat – just follow the map! Love Your Leprechaun.”

Clue #1:

DSC_0491The picture led Jeffrey to his bed – following a trail of Jelly Beans and some mini M&Ms for Jack.

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Clue #2:

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He was thrilled with his little chocolate bar.

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Clue #3 was the keyboard.

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And here is the Pot of Gold with their little treats and a note:

“Yay, You found it, I hope you enjoy. Thank you for being such nice little boys!”

Jeff said, “Oh wow.”

DSC_0506They were too enthralled to actually look at the camera – I can understand why… rice crispy treats, green chocolate chip M&Ms, flavored straws and $2 each for a trip to the Dollar Store.

DSC_0509I spent so much time getting things ready I was a bit delayed on dinner but thankfully it all turned out!

Irish Soda Bread and Corned Beef with Cabbage and potatoes.

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My Tidy Kitchen

If you’ve read my earlier posts you know I’ve slacked off in keeping you updated about my de-cluttering.

I did stick with the process though and have been enjoying the “less is more” look and feel.

One of my favorite improvements is my kitchen.

I love neat little baskets and containers and had a nice miscellaneous collection in the garage – with no purpose – until now.

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My first improvement was finding a better place for the knives – making sure they were out of reach from little hands. This zippered basket was the perfect place to store them in – with the cutting boards stacked neatly behind (I actually got rid of 3 cutting boards too).

I am even surviving, happily, without a microwave! A person can actually live without one, can you believe it?

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This is the glorious place my microwave used to be – my huge microwave to be exact – it took up all my counter space. In its place I used three stackable baskets with lids. They contain kitchen towels and oven mitts, bibs and face rags, and coasters.

My goal is for everything to have a place – not cluttered and haphazard – but its very own simple spot. With this in mind I knew the junk drawer needed to go since it’s just a collection of homeless papers, pens,  buttons, batteries, paper clips, etc.

Now with an extra drawer I needed to figure out how to best organize them so my utensils didn’t slide around.

I had a stack of unique trays with no purpose. They were on the verge of being placed in the discard pile when I tried this …

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And this…

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And this…

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Aren’t they wonderful?

Everything has a home now.

My kitchen has gone from chaotic to simple – it’s tidy!

Cheap Cloth Diapering?

With Jeffrey, my 2.5 year old, I tried doing the whole cloth diapering system. I hated it. Having to do anything with poopy diapers beyond tossing them in the trash was not my thing. Funny enough my husband REALLY wanted to stick with cloth – and yes he does change diapers!

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I had a couple nice expensive diaper covers and then a few cheaper ones off Ebay (from China). I could never get the cloth part put together right and they would leak. So I gave up – kept my non-stained cloth diapers for future baby burp rags and sold everything else.

Fast forward to present day – 9 month old Jack.

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I had planned to stick with disposable because it’s convenient but we are budgeting the Dave Ramsey way (which I highly recommend) and diapers really add up!

I know in the long run cloth diapering saves a lot of money but it sure feels like you have to spend a fortune on all the needed supplies – like fancy cute covers and inserts – before you start seeing the benefits.

Then my mom was at the store and called me, “they have all the cloth diapering stuff here I used with you as a baby”… 27 years ago. What brand? Gerber! Hmm.. those are not worthy of my babies bottom…

Wait… Inexpensive? We have ourselves a deal. Bring on the cloth diapering.

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I am here to tell all you parents debating this issue (there’s got to be at least one of you out there) – struggling with the idea of spending so much on fancy covers – plain, boring, white Gerber covers work splendid. And Jack plays just as easily as he did before… just has a little more cushion, that’s all!

I use these Gerber pre-folds (they are a thinner gauze), these thicker pre-folds, and these Gerber plastic covers (cheaper at Wal-mart than Amazon). You can use old-fashioned diaper safety pins or these Snappi Cloth Diaper Fasteners (which I love so the little extra expense is worth it in this instance).

I like the kite fold best and then use a thick pre-fold for extra protection.

DSC_0389 Here is a video of how to do a kite fold.

Cloth has won me over – just as long as I have rubber gloves for the poopy situations!

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Isn’t he darn cute? It’s the baby that makes the diaper… not the other way around!

Tidying Up

As you get to know me you will learn I LOVE coffee and I LOVE books. What I don’t love is buying books new, especially fiction because it’s pretty much guaranteed I will never read them again… there are too many books in the world for me to re-read anything less than amazing. This means I NEVER go to new bookstores unless I have a gift card and even then I don’t necessarily enjoy the experience. Here’s an example:

As a wedding gift we received a gift card to Barnes & Noble. It took us 5 years to go and actually buy books. Almost immediately my husband picked out a historical book (I think on Ninjas or something like that) and there I was about to have a panic attack because I had to find a book… that was worth the money and I wanted to keep (plus I was 7 months pregnant and could barely bend down to look at anything on the low shelves). Finally I found a mystery to try. We bought our books (I’m not thrilled at all because I will probably find it at a yard sale during the summer for a quarter), we go home, the next day I check the same book out at the library and read that one. I didn’t return the book in time so now I have a brand new copy of a book I didn’t read and am hoping to pass on as a future gift (don’t worry… it was good).

The point of that (probably unnecessary) story was – I love used bookstores way more – BUT at a Christmas gift exchange I went after a gift card to a new local bookstore/ coffee shop. I have been reading more non-fiction so I though there was hope – I knew I had to find something good that I would want to keep! Thankfully my husband is a book lover as well so we made the gift into a date. We dropped the boys off with MeMa and enjoyed a fun search of books while sharing a White Chocolate Maple Spice latte… mmmm!

The bookstore was small but surprisingly had a very good selection. I was impressed! That same day my mom had mentioned a book she wanted to read and low and behold there it was sitting on a shelf at the entrance. The book is called, “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo (the title of the book really is in lowercase form).

I know, I know… Sounds a little dumb for “The Book” I was considering buying but I want to be honest… I need help in this area of my life! My two little boys are both under the age of 3. When it comes to keeping my home neat and tidy this rarely happens unless company is coming over. It’s not horrible but it still is a far cry from how I want my home to be and feel on a regular basis. After a quick flip through I knew this was the one – the book I would be taking home gleefully.

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I spent my next day reading the entire thing. The book explains “the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” Kondo walks you through the process of de-cluttering your entire home by category. Starting with clothes, books, papers, etc.

I don’t want you to spend your entire day reading one long winded post so I will stop here and keep your informed of my progress with some scary honest pictures. Here is a preview of all the clothes I had to go through… wait until you see the finished picture and how many bags of clothes I got rid of!

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The point of this post was to share with you how much I want YOU to read this book too. It’s been so worth it in such a short amount of time! If you care to join me in this process please feel free to share your progress with me. We will have simpler homes that are easily manageable and tidy as well as realizing we don’t need so many things! Let us Live Simple and Live Good!