4 Simple Rules for a Clean and Tidy House

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In honor of the relaunch of my ebook I wanted to write some posts this week on additional home tips that aren’t in the ebook.

The following was originally written as a guest post for Tiffany at Stuff Parents Need.

 

When my husband and I brought home our little girl as first time parents, we had a lot to learn and figure out! One of the biggest challenges for me was to learn how to clean house and keep things neat in our home. Of course, I knew how to clean before, but like most things with a new baby, it was very different than before.

As a working wife, I usually did most of the home cleanup on the weekends when I had more time available.  But now, as a stay-at-home-mom, my Saturdays weren’t any less busy than the other days, so I had to figure out a new system.

The system and routine that I use now would work for a stay-at-home parent, or a working mom or dad.  These are my 4 Simple Rules for a Clean and Tidy House:

4 simple rules

Rule # 1 – Leave the house straight when you go to bed.

I quickly learned that if I wake up to a messy house, my day feels like it starts out as a failure and goes downhill from there.  But if I wake up to a neat house, I can get started on today’s work instead of cleaning up from yesterday.  For me, this means making sure all dishes are loaded in the dishwasher and cleaned and laundry and toys are picked up from around the house.

Rule # 2 – Do one cleaning task a day.

Cleaning an entire house can feel overwhelming, but I made up a list of all the weekly cleaning jobs and assign one job to each day.  Then if for some reason I miss a task one day, it’s only one task and not the whole house that missed getting clean.

Rule # 3 – Set a timer to complete work.

The work we need to do will find a way to take up whatever time is allowed for the job.  So if I give myself the whole day to do one task, it will probably take all day to do it! But if I set a timer for 15 minutes and I have to be finished when the alarm sounds, I will get it done.

Rule # 4 – Take a few minutes and quickly straighten up the house before dinner or sitting down for the evening time.

I have found that if I set my 15 minute timer and just quickly (very quickly!) walk through each room of the house and straighten things up it makes my evening a lot easier. I pick up dirty dishes to take to the kitchen, put any toys away, take any laundry or shoes to closets and straighten any books or paperwork that are out.  I try to do this before my husband gets home from work, but I definitely do it before I sit down for the evening, whether that’s for computer work or watching TV. And when that is done, I don’t get to bed time and then worry that the house is a mess (which takes me back to rule #1!).

These are just a few simple things that help me as a mom, do you have a routine or system that works for you?

 

Efficient Homemaking – Ebook Relaunch!

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Last summer I released my first ebook “Efficient Homemaking”.

It’s all about working quickly and efficiently in your house so that you can move on to the actual business of living and enjoying your home. I’m a firm believer that good enough is good enough.

I’m excited to relaunch the ebook this week with some special deals for you!

THIS WEEK ONLY “Efficient Homemaking” is available for $3.99. AND you will receive a FREE printable year-long planner with your purchase! (The planner is for August 2014-July 2015 and will be emailed separately after your purchase.)

Why should you purchase this ebook?

 

Efficient Homemaking Cover

  • Are you overwhelmed by housework and home management?
  • Do you spend large amounts of time each week just trying to keep your head above water?
  • Do you constantly feel like you need to be “doing something” at home?
  • Are you looking for a faster way to take care of your tasks?

 

Then, Efficient Homemaking is for you!

Order Now!

What if you could implement a few procedures and strategies to help you quickly and efficiently take care of your home? Efficient Homemaking is an ebook all about getting your work DONE so that you can enjoy life with your family and friends.

In this ebook you will:

  • Learn time saving and time management techniques for managing your homemaking tasks.
  • Get the tools you need to plan your household in a quick and simple way.
  • Find specific, step-by-step instructions for quickly completing each task in your home.

Efficient Homemaking covers topics including, cleaning, meal planning, laundry, and managing paperwork in your home. 

Most importantly, Efficient Homemaking is about creating a plan that will work in your home – not to have a perfect house, but to have a place that is welcoming and comfortable for you, your family and your friends. 

 

Order Now! 

 

Here’s what people are saying about Efficient Homemaking:

This is not just another book on cleaning – it’s a simple guide for those who want to quickly and efficiently take care of your home, so that you can fully enjoy the people who fill it. I love that Hannah says straight out that her home isn’t perfect, and that perfection isn’t the goal – instead, the goal is to take care of your home so that you feel comfortable welcoming people inside. I love that. And I love that strategy, hospitality, and grace can go hand in hand.

The content and ideas shared in this book are for women of all walks of life – single, married, moms, empty nesters, etc. You can have a tiny house (like me) or a mansion, and these tips would be applicable to you.

-Mackenzie, Life of a Pint-sized Mama

It is a super fast and useful read full of logistic and logical tips for speeding up and managing household routines including cleaning, menu planning, scheduling, and even how to deal efficiently with all that junk mail!   She confirms my sentiments that our house doesn’t have to be perfect to be used and loved wisely.  Hannah also includes sample menus, schedules and cleaning lists so that you can walk away from the ebook and get started with implementing her strategies right away.

-Andrea, The Hollie Rogue

 

Available as a PDF file for immediate download for only $4.99 $3.99 – THIS WEEK ONLY!

Buy the ebook now!

 

Easy Summer Recipes

Summer is for relaxing and slowing down. So who wants to spend those lovely summer evenings over a hot stove, or slaving away in the kitchen?

Around our house we’ve been doing things super simple for supper…mostly because I don’t want to drag myself in the kitchen for a ton of prep work, but also because it’s been enjoyable for our family. These are a few of the easy summer recipes that we’ve had on repeat:

Grilled Chicken Salad – At the beginning of the week I usually wash and chop up a big bunch of lettuce and vegetables that we can enjoy for salad a couple of times during the week. I like to eat grilled chicken on mine as well to really fill me up and give me the needed protein. Sometimes we will grill a few chicken breasts to have on hand, and sometimes I buy the precooked frozen chicken and just toss some in the microwave as we prep for dinner. Our favorite vegetables for salad are carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes, but you can find your favorites and experiment with different combinations.

Fish – We buy the packages of frozen fish (tilapia) from Costco, so we always have fish in the freezer. I can pull out a couple of these in the morning to let them defrost then just add a little lemon juice and some simple seasoning and put them in the oven. SUPER easy. Our family favorites are this Greek Seasoning and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. To keep things really simple I will toss some frozen vegetables in a pot on the stove and we’re good to go.

Homemade Pizza – OK, so I admit, this one takes a little more prep work, but if you plan to keep what you need on hand, it can be an easy dinner to put together. I make homemade pizza dough in our bread maker and keep dough in the freezer – but you can make your own, or buy premade dough and still keep it in the freezer if you want it to last longer. We also keep a jar of pizza sauce and we usually have cheese on hand. Simply roll out the dough, top with sauce and cheese, if that’s all we have then cheese pizza will do, but I usually like to add some veggies (zucchini is our favorite!) on top. Then put the pizza in the over at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes and dinner is ready!

What has your family been eating this summer?

Happy Monday!

Good morning Friends! I hope your Monday is treating you well so far!

Mondays can be something I dread and sometimes I just want to turn back the clock to the lazy weekend afternoons and stay there for a while.

But Mondays can also be a fresh start with new goals, plans and ideas.

These days for me, Mondays are usually about planning out the week. What are we going to do? Who are we going to spend time with? What are we going to eat? When will all the things get done?

I try not to overcomplicate it, but I do try to spend a few minutes on Monday mornings with my notebook and my “This Week” List and just think through what our week will look like. When I do that I almost always feel like our week runs a little smoother. Even if everything on the list doesn’t get done, and things don’t go according to plan, at least I don’t spend the entire week flying by the seat of my pants and scratching my head to think of what I should be doing.

Do you plan your week ahead of time? Would it make a difference if you did or didn’t?

30 Weeks – Oh (baby) Boy!

During my first pregnancy everybody told me it would go by SO fast. And in some ways it did, but I felt like the anticipation and excitement of everything made it seem kind of slow.

But nobody told me that being pregnant the second time would FLY by! I seriously feel like we just started telling people we were expecting, and here we are at 30 weeks. And I’ve barely even written about this pregnancy. (sorry second baby…)

If you’ve been around the blog awhile you may have read Phoebe’s birth story and know that I had a condition where she stopped growing near the end of my pregnancy, leading us to induce labor at 37 weeks. Because of this my doctors have been closely monitoring our son’s growth with extra ultrasounds throughout this pregnancy. And praise The Lord! This little one is growing just fine, and even a little ahead, whohoo!!

Overall this pregnancy has been totally different than my first, most of which has to do with our season of life and the fact that I have a toddler. Instead of working in an office all day and coming home tired (ha ha!) I chase Phoebe all day, work around the house, work one day a week at Harrison’s office, cook, clean and do laundry and try to put my feet up once in a while.

I also take more naps.

So now with only a few weeks left I’m feeling the physical exhaustion of third trimester with a not-as-small-as-last-time baby. Overall I still feel pretty good. I know that all the moving around I do is SO good for me and the baby, and I’m actually very thankful that I’m more active this time around. This little boy kicks me ALL. THE. TIME. And boys kick harder than girls. At my most recent doctor’s appointment I couldn’t help but laugh when the nurse had a hard time reading his heart beat, he was trying to kick the monitor away when she pressed down.

We are beyond thrilled for this second baby, this son of of ours. And even though it’s so different from the first time around, the emotions are the same. Excitement, nervousness, and general crying over nothing.

We look forward to welcoming this little one into the world!

Simplifying The Pool with a Toddler

I love summer! And as part of my summer goals I wanted to go to the pool as much as possible.

BUT, getting out to the pool with little ones can be challenging and even crazy draining. Last summer I wasn’t even sure it was worth it (and since Phoebe was younger maybe it wasn’t). But this year I have turned our pool trips into a routine that makes it doable and even fun! Whether you have a toddler or a car full of kiddos to get to the pool here are a few things that can help make the trip less hectic and more enjoyable.

1 – Designate a “Pool Bag” with all the needed items.

I have an inexpensive, water resistant bag that is our pool bag. I hang it on the door going out to the garage so I can just grab it on our way to the pool and bring it back to its spot when we get home. The sunscreen STAYS in this bag, so I never have to wonder where I put it. I also keep our towels in the bag (more on this later…) so no searching for them when we’re ready to go. We go to the pool in our neighborhood and we have to have our pool pass every time, so that stays in the bag as well.

2 – Wash, Dry and Replace immediately.

When we come home from the pool I immediately throw our wet swim suits and towels into the washer. Once they are clean and dry, the towels go straight back into our pool bag. I usually leave the swimsuits hanging in the laundry room, which makes it easy to find them together for our next trip. Since I do this I never worry about wet, smelly suits, and I never scrounge around for dry towels when we’re ready to go.

3 – Consider snack and meal times.

Last year when Phoebe was younger I had to plan our pool times around multiple daytime naps. This year she only takes an afternoon nap (hello freedom!), but if she gets hungry while we’re out I might have a little monster on my hands. We’re close enough to home that we can pack it up and head out pretty quickly if needed, but if we’re at the pool with friends I hate to abandon the outing altogether. So I keep some easy snacks handy in our pool bag. I like to do things things that won’t either melt in the heat, or go bad if we don’t eat them on this trip. Peanut butter crackers are an easy fix, as as ziplock bags with goldfish snacks or veggie straws. I usually fill up her sippy cup with water and toss it in the bag before we head out, but if you have older kids you might want to keep some juice boxes in the fridge to grab on your way out the door. And if we happen to go to the pool midmorning when it will be creeping up to lunch time, I will take some simple sandwiches or even a lunchable that we can eat poolside. Overall, just try to think through what snacks or meals you might need to keep your kiddos satisfied and make it as simple as possible.

4 – Do a diaper/swimsuit swap

This won’t apply to you if you have kids that are a little older, but we still need a swim diaper for the pool, so we have an added step to the swimsuit situation. We use a reusable swim diaper (My Swim Baby) and a swim shirt for Phoebe (but you can do these same actions with disposable swim diapers and a swimsuit). When we get ready to head to the pool I dress her in her swim shirt and leave her diaper on for the car ride. Once we get to the pool I swap out her swim diaper and we’re ready to go. When we’re done I reverse this and I actually usually just take off her swim diaper and shirt, dry her off and put her in a diaper for the drive home. You can keep an outfit in the bag to change into, but I just keep her in the diaper since I usually bathe her once we get home anyway.

 

Going to the pool with little ones may not be the easiest thing to do, but my secret to success is a little planning ahead to make life easier and it makes it more FUN and less STRESS to get to the pool!

Do you have any tips or tricks for making the trip to the pool easier?

Something to Say

A while back after I gave birth to my daughter and became a full time stay-at-home-mom, I took a break from blogging. And I loved it. And I’ve never fully returned, even though I’ve wanted to many, many times.

A very dear friend asked me several months in if I was still blogging. I told her that, yes, kind of, but I wasn’t really committed to it or doing it very often. And she said something that has stuck with me.

“That’s ok,” she said, “I know you’ll go back to it, and by then you’ll be a wiser woman who has so much wisdom to share with other women.”

Wow. First of all, she is seriously one of the wisest people that I know, and I am incredibly honored that she would think that I might even be wise one day in the future (although she already tells me she thinks I have a lot of wisdom now). But it really hit me and I’ve often wondered since then, am I trying to be wise and share ideas about things that I don’t even know anything about yet? Am I pushing so hard to have something to say, something to write that I’m actually saying things I’m not sure about?

I don’t want that to be true. I want what I write and share to be meaningful and helpful. I learn SO much from other writers and bloggers and I desperately want to be that for other wives and moms. But I also don’t want to jump in feet first on an idea that isn’t fully formed or that I haven’t seen the full fruits of yet.

The other side of that is that I see writing this blog as part of my journey. You’re here reading along and experiencing it with me. So I want you to see the things that I’m trying and the things that I think are working, as well as the things that aren’t working.

I do have something to say. It might not be something that is tested and tried over years of experience, but it’s my life right now and it’s for real. So I hope that you will glean something from it, and I hope that I will remember to tell you when a half-baked idea doesn’t turn out. But mostly I hope that I really am becoming a wise woman, wife and mom and that this is an encouragement to you.

Weekly To Do List

I’m a list maker. I love (LOVE LOVE!) to write out a list of things to do and feel the satisfaction of crossing those things off as they are completed.

I used to make a To Do List to be done in a day. But as a stay-at-home-mom, more often than not Monday’s list became Tuesday’s list and the leftovers became Wednesday’s list until I reached the end of the week feeling like a failure because I was still working on day one.

Recently, thanks to the idea of a friend, I have changed my To Do List plan.

I make a “This Week” list on Mondays (or sometimes Tuesdays…) of all the things that I hope to accomplish during the week. Now, you might not think this is that different or a big deal, but it has been a mind shift for me and a total game changer for the success of my days.

I list EVERYTHING – including doing the laundry and going to the grocery store and cooking dinner, but I also keep my expectations for “extra” things very reasonable.

And you know what has happened? Not only do I feel successful because even if I accomplish one thing each day I’m moving towards the goal of a completed list, BUT ALSO it seems to motivate me to do as much as I can early in the week because then I will be “free” for the remaining days!

Because I love a pretty list for everything, I created this free printable Weekly To Do List for you! You can print out multiple copies to write on (it prints out two to a page) or print and laminate a copy and write with dry erase marker. Click the image below to download the PDF.

This week jpeg

Do you have To Do List tips and tricks? And are you like me and sometimes write things on your list that are already done just so you can cross them off?

Summer Goals

I don’t know about you, but for me Summer feels like a time for newness. A time for refreshment, for rest and for fun! Even though as a stay-at-home-mom with a toddler my schedule doesn’t really change much at this time of year – we’re not “out of school” or anything – it still seems like things change and there’s room for change and plans.

This summer is especially exciting to me because I feel like Phoebe is older and more interested in the things we are planning and doing. Also because once summer draws to an end we’ll be getting ready to become a family of four, and that will bring all kinds of change and newness.

So this summer I want to LIVE, ENJOY and THRIVE. I Also want to plan and accomplish.

This summer I have some plans for having fun: going to the pool, having Chick-fil-a lunch dates with friends, going to the zoo, playing at the park, and just enjoying being out in our own backyard.

I also have goals for getting some things DONE! I want to prepare for the new baby and ready our home and our family for the changes ahead.

My overall, every week goals are:

  • Complete One Project on my Summer Project List
  • Eat Mostly Healthy and workout at least twice a week
  • Spend planned time with Phoebe
  • Spend two hours writing every week

 

I won’t list my entire Summer Project List, but a few things are:

  • Complete Phoebe’s Quilt (for her new toddler bed, ahh!)
  • Put together Phoebe’s Baby Album
  • Get the bedroom ready for Phoebe and the new baby to share (this comes with its own list of To-Do’s!)
  • Prep house and items for the baby

I’ll be sharing some of my successes and progress over the weeks.

Do you have summer plans or goals? What fun things are you planning to do and what tasks do you want to accomplish?

 

Announcing…

Today is an exciting day! I’ve been hinting (and hinting and hinting) about a new project I’ve been working on. Honestly, this project has been percolating in my brain for a more than a couple of years, and it’s been in the works of actually coming for several months now. But today is the day!

Announcing The Simply Add Coffee Party Shop!

SAC Etsy Logo

Here are the details:

As a shop, we exist to make your celebrations beautiful, fun and simple for you!

We currently offer printable parties and have offerings for children’s birthday parties, gender reveal parties. We will soon be expanding our line to include baby and wedding showers and grown-up parties.

We are frequently updating our inventory and party offerings, so check back often and if you don’t see something that you like, contact us to see if we can come up with a special party theme  just for you!

Our items include Printable Party Packages and A la carte items. (See the Shop Page for more specific details on the items available.)

This is what some of our packages look like:

(see all our listings and complete details on the Etsy Shop)

 

Bee Gender Reveal Items Image jpegMonkey Pink Items Image jpegCircus party items jpeg

Monster Party Items Image jpeg

AND to get things kicked off this month, I will be giving away a FREE Printable Party of their choice to FOUR lucky winners!

So here’s what you need to do:

To enter the giveaway to win a free printable party enter the rafflecopter giveaway below. And share on Facebook and/or Intagram for more chances to win!

I am SO excited about this new venture and I hope you will be excited to follow along, join me and enjoy some beautiful parties!

a Rafflecopter giveaway