Tag Archives: kitchen

Keeper of the Home: Cleaning Your Smooth Top Stove

Today’s FlyLady mission was to check our stoves and ovens for things that shouldn’t be there. Once clearing off items that shouldn’t be there you should wipe down the stove.

Well, that kinda motivated me to give my stovetop (the oven will be a project for another day) a good cleaning. I’ve never had a smooth top stove so this is a new experience for me.

I did a little research on google and reading several posts and suggestions I decided on the following method. (I have another method linked below that I will try the next time around.) This is something you could get the kids involved in as this is one of those practical life skills that they will eventually need to know.

You will need:

  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • cleaning rags/paper towel
  • elbow grease

First off, this stove is not new and it did have some prior scratches and plenty of stuck on stuff. I also forgot to take a picture prior to beginning the process but this is a google image of what it resembled:

1442429069209

My first step was to wipe the stove down with white vinegar. I then sprinkled baking soda on the stove and covered it with wet paper towels. I let this sit for 20 – 30 minutes. (You could also let this sit overnight and possibly not need to scrub as much as I did.)

During this time I filled my dishpan with hot soapy water and I took the knobs off of the stove. I let the knobs (and the spoons that were hanging above the stove) soak while the stovetop was being cleaned.

22281790_10214141623678187_2170185629387495895_n

During the time everything was sitting and soaking I was back and forth between helping the kids with school work, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, and other household tasks.

Once this part was cleaned to my satisfaction (not to perfection) I wiped the knobs down and dried them well. (If you have to scrub them be careful not to scrub the lettering off.) I then placed them back on the stove. So shiny! (A little wipe down with vinegar will give you this shine.)

Now to the stovetop. I started by taking up the paper towels and wiping most of the baking soda off.

22406309_10214141624558209_2306536729891973243_n

Next I took a purple rag with the grooved side down and used a bit of elbow grease to start scrubbing on the stuck on stuff.

Once it was cleaned to my satisfaction I got a clean rag and wiped it down again using the smooth side of the rag, making sure to get in the edges and cracks. You can use a little vinegar to get it nice and shiny too.

22308527_10214141622238151_1328160384987173071_n

It’s not perfect but it is way better than it was before I started. Here is a pic of what the area looks like after I completed the FlyLady mission (I moved some aprons I had near the stove as they could be a fire hazard).

22406529_10214141622278152_1915227032917152925_n

I think it is important to be a good steward of what we have been blessed with no matter how new or old it is. You don’t have to keep things spotless nor do you have to go on a frenzy and clean everything from top to bottom.

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed! I know how easy it is to get that way and how easily being overwhelmed can cause you to just give up. Trust me, this recent move has almost had me ready to throw my hands up and cry a couple of times.

Just start on one thing at a time. Little by little you will get there. Today I just cleaned the stove top and I will do the oven on another day. Don’t stress over perfection either.

Each day you will make progress and if you get your routines set up you’ll be spending less and less time on cleaning. Ex: Get in the habit of clearing the stove of anything that doesn’t belong every night and give it a quick wipe. This will keep it clutter free so you can use it and will help to keep it cleaner.

Yesterday I cleaned out the trash can. Not that anyone really notices that I did it but I know I did and it made me feel that I had accomplished something. Regularly cleaning it out keeps it from getting stinky too.

I put it in the shower and sprayed it down with hot water. I did use a little bleach in it and let that sit while I cleaned the bathroom. I then rinsed it out well and let it dry before returning it to the kitchen.

Tomorrow will probably be the inside of the refrigerator. Here’s a peek of the before:

22308568_10214141620238101_7400784190972612477_n

Happy housekeeping!

Here is the link to method I will try the next time I clean my stove top.

Do It Yourself Glass Stove Top Cleaner! Only THREE Ingredients!

Advertisements

When life happens

If we’re on social media we always see pictures of everybody else’s lives. Many times the pictures look so perfect and pretty but in reality they’re not.

For instance, at Thanksgiving, I took some pictures of some beautiful pies but to start with these pies were anything but beautiful.

pie-crust

Then we have kids. We always see pictures of all fun crafts that we make. Rarely do we see when crafting goes wrong.

I had read somewhere that it was important to keep art supplies out to inspire children. I had also seen research about how important it was to allow them freedom of creativity.

After reading several post and researching ideas on Pinterest I had set up my own art center. Our school scissors were quickly locked back up after my one daughter was ‘inspired’ to give herself a haircut.

hair cut.jpg

Many times we see pictures of the beautifully organized playroom and school rooms. All the toys neatly organized in little cubbies. Activity tables sitting out for the kids to work on. But this is the reality of having all of those wonderful things when you find a snake in the house.

snake-6

Just remember that each of us must do what works for our family. Have fun with whatever it is that you’re doing. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. And remember that life happens and that’s OK. We live and we learn that’s why it’s all about.

So just keep on making memories and enjoy your family. One day you’ll look back on these not so perfect moments and be able to laugh at them I promise.

Monthly Routines

This is a quick run down of our monthly routines or tasks that I try to complete once a month. I have divided them up by weeks so that it helps me keep them on track. I only have five tasks per week so I only need to concentrate on one each day.

1st week:

  1. Check/Pay bills
  2. Change calendars
  3. Clean/Sanitize the dishwasher
  4. Make appointments
  5. Yard work

Ok so number one is a must! If you don’t do that one you will be sitting in the dark.

Number two is a little more detailed for us as this not only involves me flipping the page on my desk calendar but changing out the school calendar. I have different themes for different months/seasons. All the cards are printed out and laminated. I keep them separated by months in a small index card holder. (I will try to do a post on this another time.)

I have included a link for the third task. It is important to make sure you take care of your appliances so they will last.

I sit down and see who needs appointments for physicals and such. I also check through my mail to see if I have gotten any appointment cards for anyone.

We try to take care of any big yard work like weed eating, trimming bushes, etc.

2nd week:

  1. Run vinegar and water through the coffee pot
  2. Clean burner pans on the stove
  3. Spot clean couches
  4. Spot clean the carpets
  5. Garden

I have included a link to this first one. It is important to clean out your coffee maker to keep the germies away!

I usually need to clean the burner pans on the stove at least once a month. This reduces the chance of something catching on fire.

The next two are pretty self explanatory. With kids messes are inevitable. I try to clean up messes when they happen but sometimes I don’t see them right away. I take a few minutes, once a month, to check the furniture and give it a quick cleaning.

I do the same with the carpets. I have the Shark Sonic Duo and I love it! It cleans really well and dries really quickly. This machine comes in really handy for big messes too.

When we have a garden I will use this week to give it a little extra attention and let the kids get some hands on learning at the same time.

3rd week:

  1. Change water filters, if needed
  2. Clean vacuum filters
  3. Clean AC filters
  4. Clean out fridge
  5. Clean out freezer

I use a water filter on the kitchen sink for drinking water and our fridge has a filter also. We try to keep a check on them and replace them as needed.

A lot of the vacuums have filters that can be washed. I try to wash mine once a month. I also give the vacuum a good cleaning and check the roller as well.

We have window AC units and they stay in all year round. The ACs run much better and are  more efficient when the filters are cleaned on a regular basis. So this not only saves me money but helps keep us more comfortable as well.

Once a month our fridge gets a deep clean. We take everything out shelf by shelf and wash it. Then we dry it and put it right back.

Same with our large freezer. I try to take everything out shelf by shelf. I use laundry baskets and coolers to hold the items. Things can get a little disorganized when others help put away groceries so I try to organize it by shelf. I separate the fruits and produce, the meats by types, breads, and try to keep the small items or items that need to be used in the door.

4th week:

  1. Wash your car
  2. Menu planning
  3. Wash shower curtain
  4. Clean out tubs/showers
  5. Chicken pen

Our cars get really dirty here. If it rains they get covered in mud. If it doesn’t rain they get covered in dust. When I am in town running errands I try to run my truck through the car wash once a month.

I also take a day to review my upcoming month’s menus and rearrange meals to fit our schedules and budget for the month. If I have multiple meals that pop up for a day I will choose one and delete the rest of them. I will also try to keep in mind what foods are more readily available for whatever season we are in.

Once a month I try to remember to throw the shower curtain in the wash with a load of whites. I hang it up as soon as it is washed so it can dry. When the curtain is down it makes it easier to clean out the tub in the back bathroom. I normally have DD17 take care of that and I take care of the big tub and separate shower in my bathroom.

The bathrooms just smell so much better when you keep everything washed up on a regular basis and don’t give them a chance to gather any kind of funk.

This last week is when we give our chicken pens a little extra attention too. We try to give everything a good cleaning with the water house and replace shavings and whatnot. This keeps the chickens and the geese fairly happy.

I hope this has helped you with some ideas for setting up your own monthly routines.

 

December 1, 2016

Well, today started early, like 1:30 am early. I went to bed last night with a headache and woke up sick. No fun at all. I turned my phone on and had all kinds of messages that I had missed during the night. (I almost never turn my phone off but my headache was really bad.) I did feel better after I took a shower though.

After my shower I did have almost a whole hour of ‘quiet time’. I spent that time going through my prayer journal and thanking God for the answered prayers. I also added a few new ones. I read my devotional and worked on a study that I had out. I also let my Bible fall open and read out of Psalms. It was just what I needed to help calm my soul and renew my strength this morning.

After messaging my best friend I had a long talk with God and had to hand something over to Him, something I should’ve immediately handed over last night, but stubbornly thought I could handle it on my own. (Which is how I ended up with a headache.) I felt such a relief and got the answer I needed once I let go. God is so good!

I am so thankful to have friends who can make me feel better when I’m down and who remind me that I don’t need to stress over things.

The kids were up super early and started tattling right away. My one son was in a grumpy kind of mood which did improve a little but not much. In fact, he is grumpier right now than he was this morning  He is currently voicing his opinion about bedtime through his bedroom door.

Then I remembered it was December 1st which meant that I needed to change out our school calendar. This lead to me realizing that I had forgot to print out the new calendar stuff for December (I admit I forgot last year too). So I grabbed the laminator and the paper cutter. I printed off the pages I needed and got to work laminating them.

My 3 year old loves to watch the laminator. He gets so excited to see what we are making. He was also my little helper and helped me to carry everything over to the playroom and get it all set up. We had a card left over, St. Nicholas day, and I didn’t know what day it was for sure.

So we went to the laptop and asked my dear friend, Google, for the answer. My son was very curious as to who ‘Doogle’ was and where he lived. He wanted to see a picture but forgot about that when I offered to let him put the final card in place. (December 6th in case you were wondering.)

We did manage to get our school work finished by 12. The girls have really been dragging their feet this week. I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday! I tried to get my daily chores finished and pay bills while they were working but that was pretty impossible today.

I did my laundry, as my laundry day is on Thursday, and then I carried my hang-dry items to my room. My oldest daughter was in there working out so I set them on the dresser with the intentions of going back to finish them shortly. The other clothes got dried and I left the ones that needed pressed on the dryer until I could get them. Well, I didn’t remember the wet ones until after lunch and they left a wet mark on my dresser. I just finished pressing the others after dinner. Now though I can say that task is completed for this week. Yay!

I did manage to finish my grocery list this morning, print my sales lists, and clip coupons. I pulled out my big coupon binder and started to get it set up again.One of my goals for 2017 is to be a better steward of what God has blessed me with. I think couponing will help me with this goal. At one time I was doing extremely well but I kinda fell off track with all of the different things I’ve been taking care of this past year.

I set out with $200 and my first stop was to put gas in my truck. Then to make a few more stops. I managed to find a few books to go under the tree and a few for stockings at Dollar Tree. I also picked up a few things to go along with our Advent study which I also confess has not began like I thought it would.  Being sick with the flu last week really did a number on me and I’m still not feeling quite 100%.

At another store I found a great deal on some meat. There was a BOGO sale on ground pork and ground pork patties. Well, I happened to find 4 packs of patties on sale that had been marked down $2 on top of the BOGO making them almost free! Then even better I found some stew beef also marked down $2. I know some people don’t like these sales but I grab them whenever I can unless the meat looks questionable. I have a big freezer and I know that even cheap cuts of meat will become tender in the crock pot or pressure cooker.

After two more stops and saving over $100 in sales and coupons I still had a little cash in my pocket. I stopped by the ‘relaxation station’ aka Island Shack Tanning Salon. I know, tanning isn’t really healthy, but the warm beds really do help my sore muscles a lot. Plus I usually sneak in a little nap in too.

After my quick nap I stopped to put air in my tire as I had found a note on my windshield informing me of a low tire. So sweet of someone to let me know, I really did appreciate that. Then back home to unload my grocery haul.

Upon exiting my vehicle the geese and the cat promptly notified me that I had forgotten to feed them earlier so groceries had to wait. Big sister heard me pull in and came to help. She had unloaded most of them by the time I had finished feeding which was a great help.

The kids all helped me to put away the groceries. They like to help because they can see what goodies and treats I might’ve gotten. They also enjoy trying to guess what Momma is going to make by looking at the groceries that I brought home. After everything was put away I sat down for a moment to try to decide what I needed to do and what was just gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

I still need to dig out our Christmas stuff. Who am I kidding? I still need to put away the Fall decor! (Speaking of which, I did find the cutest little pilgrim salt and pepper shakers today, on clearance!) Christmas is all packed neatly in some large green totes so I know where it is, I just haven’t brought it in.

I did bring in a tote and some boxes with the intentions of packing away the Fall decor but dinner had to be made. Then the clothes were calling me from the top of the dryer. I still haven’t vacuumed the floors either, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

Today was visitation and Daddy had already promised to help them with a craft today. They made some paper Christmas trees. I even broke out the art supplies which included sequins and pom-poms. I wasn’t brave enough to bring out the glitter though. They turned out really well even thought some kids really didn’t want to follow along with the video.

christmas-trees

I love it when he does things like that with them. It helps them to strengthen their bond and also creates memories that will last for a long time. He also made his own tree, that they helped to decorate, to take home with him. The boys made him some ‘presents’ to go under his tree too.

Dinner consisted of Sloppy Joes, seasoned fries, and some homemade coleslaw (1 bag of slaw, a bit of mayo, a little sugar, and a splash of white vinegar. I’ll have to work on that recipe as I just kinda dump and taste as I go.) One of the little boys got excited when he saw the buns and the cheese. He had been asking for hamburgers but he thought Sloppy Joes were close enough and he actually asked for seconds.

After baths big sister wanted to try her hand at some No Bake Cookies. (Last night she made Easy Sugar Cookies.) She involved everyone in the process and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They enjoyed measuring, stirring, and of course the taste testing! I’m not so sure that chocolate right before bedtime was a such a good idea though as little man is refusing to go to bed now.

So all in all we had a great day. Lots of memories were made too. That’s what life is about. We have to do the best we can with what we have. Each and everyday is a new day with a fresh start.

I think my kids will remember these days when they get older. They won’t be worrying about whether or not I vacuumed the floor. They also probably won’t be traumatized by not having a Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. (We’ve agreed that we will set it up on St. Nicholas Day and I drew a picture of a Christmas tree on my desk calendar for them to look at.)

They will also look back on the pictures and hopefully remember how much fun they had making crafts with their dad. We may have our differences but I am so thankful that we have been able to work through them and/or put them aside for the sake of our kids. Even though our relationship as husband and wife is over we are still connected through our kids and will always have that bond. It is important for us to continue to work together to be the best parents we can be for our children.

I am off to bed but first I need to walk little man to his bed. Then I have a few things that I need to add to my prayer list. Have a blessed night!

 

 

 

Dancing barefoot in the kitchen

Yep, that’s how I am most days, barefoot, and that’s where I am most of the time, the kitchen. Why? Well that’s how I am most comfortable and that is where most of the activities in our house are centered around. I do keep a pair of flip flops at each door in case I need to run out for something like the mail man or chasing a pig outta the yard. For the most part I am barefooted though.

I’ve heard all the barefoot and pregnant jokes when I was married and pregnant. I’ve read the ‘dangers’ of going barefooted, especially the stuff you can catch from the ground. (I do usually wear shoes outside.) I have broken a few toes because of being barefooted and I’ve stepped on more Legos than you could ever imagine. The fact that there are still Legos in my house is a true testimony to the power of forgiveness!

The kitchen is the heart of our home. I really enjoy cooking so I am always trying out new recipes or letting the kids help me fix a snack or a meal. It is usually filled with good aromas coming from the crock pot or the oven. I always have sweet tea or hot coffee ready for anyone who comes to visit. Most days we can even rustle up a piece of pie or slice of cake too. If you come hungry I’m sure can find something in the fridge that can satisfy your hunger too.

The island is fairly good size for an older mobile home and it is used for everything from schoolwork, bread making, sewing projects, and vacuum repair. It is also the place where a lot of visiting takes place. The younger kids and Grandpa have claimed the playroom and the older kids have pretty much claimed the living room. So Momma has claimed the kitchen. When I have visitors, which isn’t that often, we usually sit or stand around the island to chat.

This island was also the center of activity during wedding preparations for my oldest daughter’s wedding in June. (See Who can you count on? for more about that.) My family and friends all gathered around this island to prepare the food and decorations for the wedding and reception. We shared lots of stories, caught up on news, and had a wonderful time. We made many memories around this old island with its peeling cabinets and chipped counter-top.

Our kitchen is a dine-in kitchen as we converted the formal dining area to a bedroom for my special needs son. We have a big kitchen table with benches. I love this table and I had prayed for a table big enough for all of us to sit around. My then husband and I went to the flea market, the first and only time I’ve been, and on our way out I spotted this table back in a corner. We found the seller and asked about the price and the cost to deliver it. Well, it was way more than what we had on us and over the budget I had set for a table. I was sure that it would be gone before we saved the money so reluctantly we left and came home.

A few weeks later he had went back to the flea market. He came home sooner than I had expected and he was really excited. He asked me to help him carry out the two tables we had in the kitchen. I wondered what he had gotten and soon I found out. A pickup pulled in with the most beautiful kitchen table on the back. (Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.) The man had seen him walking around and had asked him if we had found a table yet. Within a few minutes the table was bought for the exact amount that I had saved and set back for our table.The kids were so excited to eat their first meal together. Before this we had two smaller tables for the kids to eat at.

That is a good memory and when I look at this table I am reminded of that day and how happy we were. It also reminds me of how God always provides us with what we need and many things we want. (See Are you needy? for more examples.)

Now the table is used for school work, art projects, meals, dinosaur adventures, monster truck rallies, play-dough sculpting, and so much more. It has the marks of being well-used and sometimes I contemplate having it refinished but I kinda like the character it has.

Our kitchen also has my roll top desk which is where I happen to be sitting, barefooted, at the moment. This is where a lot of my work gets done. I do a lot of planning for meals, school, budgets, outings, and other activities that must happen. I also take care of the bills and other household related things here too.

My kitchen is pretty much open to the playroom where the kids spend a good amount of time. I can cook, work on projects, make a grocery list, or just browse the internet for my next project while keeping an eye on them. I can also hear everything going on in the play yard from the kitchen.

If my kids come in looking for me they will usually come to the kitchen first. They know that is where Momma can normally be found. They also know that is where snacks and other goodies can be found. Unfortunately our cat knows this too and has developed the bad habit of jumping on the counters which we have been trying to discourage with a spray bottle of water.

When my kids have made some discovery outside or have created some interesting architectural structure that I need to come see they will come looking for me. They will bring my flip flops with them because they know Momma probably won’t have her shoes on. They keep me from having an excuse.

Another thing we have been doing is playing music throughout the day. There is just something about music that can calm the soul. It can reach deep inside a person and make their heart happy. It is not uncommon to walk in to the kitchen and find me dancing around while cooking or cleaning. If the kids come in and laugh then I will grab them and ‘force’ them to dance also. Sometimes a whiny kid will be ‘forced’ into dancing, as well. This has become a fun outlet that is an immediate cure for the ‘grouchies’. We all know that grouchies can’t survive for long around music, dancing, or laughter.

I want my kids to have good, consistent memories of their childhood. If seeing Momma dancing barefoot in the kitchen is a memory that is forever etched in their minds then I’m happy. If they break into a smile every time they hear ‘Walking in the Sunshine’ then I’ve succeeded at this mission. (This is also a proven cure for the grouchies that was passed along to me by a dear friend.)

So how long has it been since you’ve danced barefoot in the kitchen? Why don’t you give it a try and see what happens?