Friday, April 27, 2012

High 5 for Friday!

I've been meaning to do High 5 for Friday for a while now, but I keep forgetting. Hopefully this will be the start of a weekly thing.
 Lauren at 'From My Grey Desk' hosts a weekly link party for everyone to share what their five favorite things about the past week were.
 I follow her blog and love it! Click the button below to visit her!

Photobucket




1. Having a Saturday morning breakfast, just me & my girls!


2. Fun times playing with Daddy at home!


3. Homemade BBQ chicken pizza!


4. Licking the spatula & the whisk after making brownies!


5. Playing Monopoly Jr. with Big A!




Week 2, Day 5: Bathrooms

Woohoo! We've made it to the end of the two weeks!

Happy Friday!

Today, we're going to revisit the bathrooms. 

First let's do our dailies!

Main Checklist:

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, and put away!
  • Load and unload your dishwasher. If you don't have one, wash and put away all of your dirty dishes.
  • Don't be lazy. When you take something from a room to put it away, put it where it belongs. Don't just toss it in the room. We're trying to prevent having a mess pile up.
  • Do a quick pick-up in the kitchen. If there is anything in there that doesn't belong, go put it away.
  • Clear the kitchen counters of clutter. 
  • Do a quick pick-up in the living room. If there is anything in there that doesn't belong, go put it away.
  • Check on the bedrooms. Is there clutter starting to pile up? Go ahead and pick it up so it doesn't get worse!
  • Encourage your children to put away their toys when they're finished with them. Show the the correct place to put them. Don't just send them to their rooms with them.
  • Do a clean sweep through the kitchen and living room before you go to bed.
____________________________

Bathroom Checklist:

  • Pick up anything that is on the floor and put it away.
  • Clear your countertops of clutter.
  • Go ahead and put your toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet to let it sit for a few minutes and do its job. 
  • Remove your contents from the shower and spray it with bathroom/shower cleaner. 
  • Spray your sinks and counters with  your choice of cleaner and wipe them down. 
  • Clean your mirrors.
  • Sweep the floor.
  • Replace your hand towels and bath towels with fresh ones.
  • Scrub down your shower/tub with a sponge or rag. 
  • Spray the outside of your toilet with cleaner and wipe it down. 
  • Clean the lid, seat, and rim. Then, scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. 
  • Mop the floor.

__________________________

If you have followed this far, I want to thank you for taking the challenge!
I hope your houses are clean, and your stress is down. 

This weekend, make it a point to read some books with your kids. 
You can read to them, or let them read to you, or even let them make up the story as they look through the pictures. 
Just spend that time with them. 

Happy Friday!
Thursday, April 26, 2012

Week2, Day4: The Remaining Bedrooms

Happy Thursday!
We're almost done!!!

Today we're going to revisit the bedrooms you didn't clean yesterday. This should include your master bedroom and any other bedroom you didn't get around to.

Since this is a repeat day, I'll keep it short and sweet by just posting the checklists for you.

Main Checklist:

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, & put away!
  • Unload and reload your dishwasher. If you don't have one, wash and put away all of your dirty dishes.
  • Don't be lazy! When you take  something from a room to put it away, put it where it belongs. We're trying to avoid having a mess pile up.
  • Do a quick pick-up in the kitchen. Remove anything that doesn't belong & de-clutter the countertops.
  • Do a quick pick-up in the living room. Remove anything that does not belong.
  • Check the bedrooms. Is there a mess? Yes? Pick it up before it gets out of control!
  • Check the bathrooms. Clean up any messes you see.
  • Encourage your children to clean up after themselves by showing them where and how to put their belongings away when they're finished with them.
  • Do a clean sweep through the kitchen & living room before you go to bed.
____________________________

Week 2: Bedrooms Checklist

  • Pick up the bedroom. Put away anything that is on the floor. Clear surfaces of clutter.
  • Use a dust cloth to wipe down any shelves, trinkets, knick-knacks, etc. starting from the highest point in the room. 
  • Pull the sheets & wash them. 
  • Straighten the clothes, shoes, & accessories in the closet.
  • Be sure the shelves & dresser look neat, and not cluttered. 
  • Wipe down the blinds.
  • Wash any windows, mirrors, and picture frames.
  • Vacuum the floor. 

Don't stop now! We're almost finished! Push through and get it done!!!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


Week 2, Day 3: Bedrooms

Happy Hump Day!

Today we're going to clean the bedrooms. 

Let's do our dailies first!

Main Checklist:

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, & put away!
  • Unload and reload your dishwasher. If you don't have one, wash and put away all of your dirty dishes.
  • Don't be lazy! When you take  something from a room to put it away, put it where it belongs. We're trying to avoid having a mess pile up.
  • Do a quick pick-up in the kitchen. Remove anything that doesn't belong & de-clutter the countertops.
  • Do a quick pick-up in the living room. Remove anything that does not belong.
  • Check the bedrooms. Is there a mess? Yes? Pick it up before it gets out of control!
  • Check the bathrooms. Clean up any messes you see.
  • Encourage your children to clean up after themselves by showing them where and how to put their belongings away when they're finished with them.
  • Do a clean sweep through the kitchen & living room before you go to bed.
By doing this checklist, you're keeping your house under control. When I walk into a room and it's a giant mess, I just want to walk right back out. Messes do NOT motivate me. I also find that my stress level is way lower if my house is not a mess. It's easier to get tasks done, so I get to spend more time with my kids.

______________________________________

On to the bedrooms!

Remember, this does not include the master bedroom. 

Week 2: Bedrooms Checklist

  • Pick up the bedroom. Put away anything that is on the floor. Clear surfaces of clutter.
  • Use a dust cloth to wipe down any shelves, trinkets, knick-knacks, etc. starting from the highest point in the room. 
  • Pull the sheets & wash them. 
  • Straighten the clothes, shoes, & accessories in the closet.
  • Be sure the shelves & dresser look neat, and not cluttered. 
  • Wipe down the blinds.
  • Wash any windows, mirrors, and picture frames.
  • Vacuum the floor. 

Let's get started! 
Let me know if there's anything else to add to the list!
Happy cleaning!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Culinary Creativity: Getting Your Picky Toddler to Eat.


Guest Post by Sage Adderley

Apparently my 2-½ year old son is now a picky eater. While he has no problem snacking, he has become selective as to what he’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I began brainstorming food ideas and thought about making him some bento-style lunches.

I became slightly obsessed with bento a few years ago. Bento is a Japanese box lunch. I was initially interested in bento when I discovered a bento-themed Flickr group with photos of bento food art. Basically people creating characters (Hello Kitty, Mario, etc), animals, and nature objects using various food items.

The bento box lunches range from simple to elaborate. Bento-style lunch boxes also help with portion control and making sure you have an assortment of food.
I decided to order some bento products from All Things For Sale. I picked up the following:
  • ·      animal food pick set
  • ·      dinosaur-shape cutter
  • ·      stainless steel veggie cutters (heart, star & bear shapes)
  • ·      small plastic cups for dipping sauces
  • ·      bento box
  • ·      colorful food separators



I started off small by cutting fruits, such as apples and bananas, with the star and heart shape cutters. I placed an animal pick in the fruit and my son loved it! I’ve never seen him devour food so quickly.



While some people get extremely creative with bento food art, I have kept it fairly simple. Like most other families, we are busy and time is usually not on our side. For me, preparing his fruit and vegetables with the shape cutters takes no more time than slicing it with a knife, so why not make it fun?

The stainless steel cutters are also perfect for cheese slices, sandwich meat, pancakes, and lasagna noodles. The bonus is that the bento accessories have helped him learn colors, animals, and shapes. It has been a win-win situation.
If you are interested in learning more about bento, I highly recommend the website,  Lunch in a Box

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I met Sage six years ago. We have gotten to know each other over the last several years, and I'm lucky to be able to call her one of my best friends. She is a major inspiration to me, creatively and otherwise. She runs Sweet Candy Distro, and has a blog of her own called, 'my name is: Sage'.  She's a freelance writer and has an Etsy shop, which is also called, 'my name is: Sage'.  Sage is an awesome mother to three amazingly bright and creative children. If I could choose one person to be most like in the 'mommy department', it would definitely be this woman. 
Help me support one of my besties by visiting her blog, her distro, and her Etsy shop!

Week 2, Day2: The Living Room & Foyer

Hello, Tuesday!

I hope everyone is still with me here! 

Are you keeping up?

Let's start with our dailies. 

Main Checklist:

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, & put away! 
  • Unload and reload your dishwasher. If you don't have one, wash all of your dirty dishes and put them away.
  • Don't be lazy! When you take something from a room to put away, put it where it belongs. We're trying to prevent messes from building up. 
  • Do a quick pick-up in the kitchen. Remove anything that doesn't belong & de-clutter the countertops. 
  • Do a quick pick-up in the living room. Remove anything that doesn't belong.
  • Check the bedrooms. Is there a mess? Pick it up before it becomes overwhelming!
  • Check the bathrooms. Clean any messes you see. 
  • Encourage your children to clean up after themselves by showing them where and how to put their belongings away.
  • Do a clean sweep through the kitchen & living room before bed. 
This list may seem like a lot of work when you read it, but if you do it each day, it should take you under an hour to complete it. 

______________________________________

Today we're going back to the living room & the foyer.

This is the area your company usually sees the most of. You want it to be presentable and clean.  We're going to tackle that right now!

Week 2: Living Room Checklist

  • Pick up and put away anything that doesn't belong.
  • Clear coffee tables and shelves of clutter.
  • Start at the highest point in the living room and start dusting. For me this is my ceiling fan. You should also include shelves, picture frames, decor, the mantle, entertainment centers/tv stands, lamps, coffee tables, and anything else that could collect dust. 
  • Vacuum the floor. Be sure to get around the edges of the room. Dust tends to build up in the corners and around baseboards. 
  • Vacuum the furniture. Make sure you remove the cushions and vacuum underneath. 
  • Wash any windows, mirrors, and picture frame glass that have finger prints on them. 
Week 2: Foyer Checklist

  • Clear the foyer of any clutter: shoes, coats, junk mail, etc...
  • Dust any surfaces: tables, picture frames, etc....
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor. Include the stairs if you have them.
  • Wash any windows or mirrors in the area. 
  • Mop the floor if it can be mopped.
Happy Cleaning!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Week 2, Day 1--Back to the Kitchen!

It's Monday again! We're going back to the kitchen.

Did you keep it clean over the weekend? 

Mine got a little messy, but it's nothing that can't be cleaned up in 5 minutes or less. 

Alrighty! Let's get on with the daily stuff.

Do these things to maintain a clean house in between actually cleaning each room. If you keep your house straightened up, it's not overwhelming when it comes time to do the cleaning.

Main Checklist:

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, and put away!
  • Unload and reload your dishwasher. If you don't have one, wash all of the dirty dishes in the kitchen.
  • Don't be lazy! When you take something from a room to put it away, put it where it belongs. Don't just toss it in there. We're trying to prevent having a mess pile up!
  • Do a quick pick-up in the kitchen. Remove any items that do not belong, and de-clutter the counters.
  • Do a quick pick-up in the living room. Remove any items that do not belong.
  • Check the bedrooms. Is there a mess beginning to form? Yes? Pick it up! Don't let it get out of control!
  • Check the bathrooms. Clean up any messes you see.
  • Encourage your children to clean up after themselves by taking the time to show them how and where to put things away. 
  • Do a clean sweep through the kitchen and living room before bed.
_______________________________

Today, we're going to start the scrubbing!
We're going to revisit each room we straightened up last week so we can do some deeper cleaning.
We're starting with the kitchen again. 
Families function much better when the common areas of the house are clean. 
Obviously you can use whatever cleaners you want. It's not my place to say what you should/shouldn't be using, so get your cleaning supplies for the kitchen ready!

Week 2: Kitchen Checklist

  • Be sure your kitchen is straightened up. No clutter, dishes washed and put away, etc....
  • Fill your sink with hot, soapy water. Use a wash cloth or cleaning rag to wipe down the cabinet doors, pantry door, appliances, and the trash can (do the trash can last!). 
  • Using your cleaner of choice, wipe down all the countertops, sink, stovetop & kitchen table. 
  • Mix 1/2 cup of water & 1/2 cup white vinegar in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave until it starts to boil, 1-1.5 min. This loosens any stuck-on food. Remove the bowl. Wipe out your microwave. 
  • Check your refrigerator for any expired food or condiments. Throw away anything you won't eat, then wipe down the shelves if needed.
  • Look in the pantry for any expired food. Throw it away and organize what's left.
  • Wash the windows & wipe out the window sills.
  • Sweep the floor. 
  • If you feel like your baseboards need cleaning, do it. 
  • Mop the floor. 
If you guys can think of anything else to add to the list let me know! 

Happy Cleaning!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 5: Bathrooms & Weekend Homework

Happy Friday!!!

Aren't you so excited? 
You get to clean your bathrooms today! 
(woohoo!)

Ok, so I lied when I said we weren't doing any deep cleaning this week. 
We have to clean the bathrooms today and they need a good scrubbing at least once a week. 

We're going to actually scrub the bathrooms because quite frankly, they get disgusting if you don't clean them.

I like to clean my bathrooms on Friday. If we plan on having company over, it's usually on the weekends. I like to have fresh, clean bathrooms for them to use. 

Let's get going!

Main Checklist:

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, and put away!
  • Load and unload your dishwasher. If you don't have one, wash and put away all of your dirty dishes.
  • Don't be lazy. When you take something from a room to put it away, put it where it belongs. Don't just toss it in the room. We're trying to prevent having a mess pile up.
  • Do a quick pick-up in the kitchen. If there is anything in there that doesn't belong, go put it away.
  • Clear the kitchen counters of clutter. 
  • Do a quick pick-up in the living room. If there is anything in there that doesn't belong, go put it away.
  • Check on the bedrooms. Is there clutter starting to pile up? Go ahead and pick it up so it doesn't get worse!
  • Encourage your children to put away their toys when they're finished with them. Show the the correct place to put them. Don't just send them to their rooms with them.
  • Do a clean sweep through the kitchen and living room before you go to bed.
____________________________

Bathroom Checklist:

  • Pick up anything that is on the floor and put it away.
  • Clear your countertops of clutter.
  • Go ahead and put your toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet to let it sit for a few minutes and do its job. 
  • Remove your contents from the shower and spray it with bathroom/shower cleaner. 
  • Spray your sinks and counters with  your choice of cleaner and wipe them down. 
  • Clean your mirrors.
  • Sweep the floor.
  • Replace your hand towels and bath towels with fresh ones.
  • Scrub down your shower/tub with a sponge or rag. 
  • Spray the outside of your toilet with cleaner and wipe it down. 
  • Clean the lid, seat, and rim. Then, scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. 
  • Mop the floor.
Have fun scrubbing those toilets!
_______________________________

Since I'm a stay-at-home mom, I've decided that I get weekends off from housecleaning just like my husband gets a weekend off from work.
 I try to get everything cleaned up by Friday, maintaining the work I did earlier in the week, so I don't have to really focus on cleaning over the weekend. I would much rather be spending that time with my family. 
I don't completely neglect the house though. I do quick pick-ups all weekend instead of focusing on particular rooms. 
If I don't clean at all for those two days, my house becomes a disaster area. 


I'm going to leave you with homework for the weekend so when we start the scrubbing and organizing on Monday, we don't have to clean the room first.

Weekend Homework:

  • Don't slack on keeping the house picked up. 
  • If you see a mess starting to form, pick it up!
  • Keep your dishwasher cycled.
  • Spend some quality time with your family since you're not worried about cleaning.

Don't wait for your house to look messy and cluttered before you start cleaning. That's when most of us get overwhelmed. If you continually clean throughout the week, it stays picked up. For me, it's much easier to go into a room that's a little messy to clean it up. If it looks like a tornado ripped through there, I don't even want to start on it.
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 4: Remaining Bedrooms

Happy Thursday, everyone! 

Today we're going to focus on the remaining bedrooms in the house. 

If you guys are anything like me, your bedroom is a catch-all for when company comes over and the house isn't quite ready. Or maybe you have papers that need filing or laundry that piles up. I never really liked cleaning my room as a kid....and I still don't.

Let's get started!

Main Checklist:



  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry & put away!
  • Load and unload your dishwasher. If you don't have one, wash and put away all of your dirty dishes.
  • Don't be lazy. When you remove an item from a room, put it away where it belongs. We're trying to avoid having a mess pile up. 
  • Do a quick pick-up of the kitchen. If there is anything in there that doesn't belong, put it away.
  • Clear the kitchen counters of clutter.
  • Keep an eye on the living room & bedrooms. If a mess is starting to form, pick it up.
  • Encourage your children to help you pick up messes as they're finished with toys.
  • Do a clean sweep through the kitchen and living room before bed.
______________________________

Since this is the second day cleaning bedrooms, we're doing the same checklist we did yesterday. 

Bedrooms Checklist:

  • Pick up anything lying on the floor. Put it in its proper place.
  • Remove clutter from flat surfaces including the dresser, nightstands and shelves.
  • Put away any clean clothes that may be lying around.
  • Place dirty laundry in the hamper/basket, or take them to the laundry room to be sorted.
  • Make the bed.
  • Vacuum the floor thoroughly. 
Happy Cleaning!



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Willy Nilly Wednesday

I  just wanted to share a very random, silly little snippet from my day today.

    I went through the Arby's drive through today at lunch to pick up some food on my way to a friend's house. I placed my order, a combo #4 with mozzarella sticks instead of curly fries and a Dr. Pepper. The voice in the little speaker box said, "That'll be $7.26. I'll see you at the window." So I proceed to the window and he repeats the amount I owe. I pull out two $5 bills and hand them to him.
He asks, "Out of a thousand?"
I chuckle a little and say, "Sure, I'll take the change for that."
He reaches out, handing me my money, saying, "Two-hundred and seventy-four cents is your change."
"YESSS!!!" (insert small fist pump)
"Ya sound a little richer when you don't use decimals, don't ya?"
"Yes, I do!"
_________________

Just that conversation made my day a little brighter. It was silly, and actually pointless, but it made me smile. 

What made this guy want to not use decimals?

If his manager heard him doing that, would he have gotten in trouble? I mean, let's face it...although I knew what he was talking about, there are plenty of people in the world who probably couldn't even tell you that ten dollars is the same as one thousand cents. He could really confuse some poor guy that just wants a roast beef sandwich and a coke.

______________________________

And just for your viewing pleasure:






Day 3: Bedrooms + Bonus Laundry schedule

Happy Wednesday!

Are your kitchens and living rooms clean?
I hope so!

Let's get started!

Main Checklist:

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry & put away!
  • Load and unload your dishwasher. If you don't have one, wash and put away all of your dirty dishes.
  • Don't be lazy. When you remove an item from a room, put it away where it belongs. We're trying to avoid having a mess pile up. 
  • Do a quick pick-up of the kitchen. If there is anything in there that doesn't belong, put it away.
  • Clear the kitchen counters of clutter.
  • Keep an eye on the living room. If a mess is starting to form, pick it up.
  • Do a clean sweep through the kitchen and living room before bed.
____________________________________

Today we're going to focus on 2 bedrooms.

These bedrooms should not be the master bedroom. We'll get to that tomorrow. 

For me, these are my two youngest girls' bedrooms.
My oldest cleans her room on her own once a week. When she gets home from school on Mondays, she knows that she has to clean her room as soon as her homework is finished. 
Scheduling a day each week for her to do it works out really well for us. She knows when to expect to have to clean her room, so there's significantly less arguing about it than there was before.

Bedrooms Checklist:

  • Pick up anything lying on the floor. Put it in its proper place.
  • Remove clutter from flat surfaces including the dresser, nightstands and shelves.
  • Put away any clean clothes that may be lying around.
  • Place dirty laundry in the hamper/basket, or take them to the laundry room to be sorted.
  • Make the bed.
  • Vacuum the floor thoroughly. 
Do these things in both rooms and you'll have 2 clean bedrooms in no time!

We'll focus more on organization and more detailed cleaning next week. 

You're going to do the same thing with the bedrooms as I have asked with the living room. Keep an eye on them. If a mess looks like it's about to happen, prevent it by picking the things up. 

Try to encourage your kids to pick up toys when they're finished playing with them. That's one of the best habits you can help your children form. 

____________________________________

In order to stay on top of laundry, I have a certain load of laundry assigned to each day. 
I wash each person's laundry separately. This way, when I'm taking it out of the dryer I can fold it, lay it in a basket and take it all to the room it belongs in. 
Every few days, I have to toss in a load of cloth diapers, but it doesn't throw off my laundry schedule.

Monday-Big A's Laundry
Tuesday-Little A's Laundry
Wednesday-Middle A's Laundry
Thursday-Mommy & Daddy's Laundry
Friday-Towels and sheets.

Happy Cleaning, everyone!
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 2: The Living Room & Foyer

Happy Tuesday, readers!

Today is Living Room Day, but first let's focus on our Main Checklist.

Don't forget, I'll be adding new things to this list daily. It will help you keep the house straight as we move from room to room. 

Main Checklist

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry & put away!
  • Load and unload your dishwaher. If you don't have one, wash and put away any dirty dishes.
  • Don't be lazy. When you remove an item from a room, put it where it belongs. Don't just toss it in its respective room. We're trying to avoid having a mess pile up. 
Did you remember to clean up the kitchen after dinner last night? I hope so!
Your kitchen should be clean if you have not yet eaten this morning.
Here are the new items for the Main Checklist:

  • Do a quick pick-up in the kitchen. If there is anything that doesn't belong in there, put it away. 
  • Clear the counters. We don't want any clutter to pile up!
  • Do a clean-sweep through the kitchen and living room every night before bed. 
If you stick to the tips from yesterday and clean up after yourself in the kitchen, as well as keeping the dishwasher cycled, you'll find that the kitchen stays cleaner longer.
You'll also find that it doesn't hurt to go ahead and wipe down the sink faucet or take a minute to sweep the floor after a meal since you don't have to spend so much time focusing on the entire room. 
If your dishwasher is properly cycled, you can put dishes in it as you're cooking dinner. It will minimize the amount of work you have to do to clean up afterward. 

_______________________________________________________________

Now, on to the living room!

I don't know about you guys, but keeping my living room clean is a constant battle. 
I have one kid who can clean up after herself, one who is still working on that particular skill, and one who just drools all over everything at the moment. 
The worst thing about the living room (and the kitchen) is that it's a room the whole family continually uses. It doesn't stay clean for very long.
I probably pick up my living room at least 3-4 times in a single day. 
That's ok with me, though. I would rather do 3-4 small pick-ups than one large one. 
If you do damage control, there won't be a disaster.

My main rule for the living room is to keep an eye on it throughout the day. 
If you see a mess starting to form, go ahead and pick it up. Don't let it pile up until it gets to be a ton of work. That doesn't mean that you need to swoop in and pick up everything little Jenny or Johnny sets down as soon as it hits the floor. You know where your tipping point is. Just try to make things easier on yourself. 


Living Room Checklist:

  • Remove anything that does not belong and put it away where it belongs.
  • Clear off any flat surfaces; coffee tables, sofa tables, ledges, shelves. Unless it is there on purpose for decoration, it doesn't belong. Put it away. 
  • Use your choice of cleaning supplies (I use Lysol Multi-purpose cleaner and paper towels) to wipe down your tables & lamps, as well as any other main pieces of furniture. This does not include picture frames, hanging shelves, etc... We will get to those next week. 
  • Vacuum (or sweep) the floor. 
  • Vacuum the couches and footstools. 

Living Room Quick Tips

Pick up messes multiple times throughout the day so it doesn't suddenly multiply and overwhelm you. 

Try to limit the amount of food your kids are bringing into the living room. Less crumbs and spills means less mess for mommy & daddy to clean up. 

Do not go to bed with a messy living room. I know I said the same thing about the kitchen, but I truly believe that when the common areas of the house are cluttered it heightens the stress level in the household. No one really wants to deal with the mess and the frustration gets taken out on each other. At least, that's what happens at our house.
If the living room is messy after dinner, we have a quick pick-up time. We make the kids help us clean it up before they get ready for bed. It helps tremendously. 

___________________________________________

Now let's focus on the foyer!

The foyer is the first thing guests see when they walk in your house. 
In our case, everyone sees stairs since our home has a split foyer. 
The stairs are carpeted and they get gross quickly with all the foot traffic coming in from outside. 

Foyer Checklist:

  • Put away anything cluttering up the entryway. Coats, shoes and umbrellas can all either go to the correct bedroom closet, or the hallway coat closet.
  • Clear off any tables you may have positioned by the door. Throw away junk mail. File important mail.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floors. If you have stairs, vacuum them. If you have a split foyer, vacuum both sets of stairs.
Foyer Quick Tips:

Put away your coats and shoes when you get home. Do not leave them lying by the door.

When you get the mail, immediately go through it to decide what's important and what isn't. File the important stuff, throw away the junk.

Try to be sure your foyer emulates something you would want to see when walking into a friend's house. First impressions are  important.

___________________________________________

I know this post seems crazy-long, but there isn't a lot of work here. Just try not to fall behind. If you stay on top of the mess instead of constantly running behind it trying to catch up, your days will be much easier on you!

I ask one thing of you before you get started.
Today is my sister-in-law's birthday. Hop over to her blog and wish her a happy day today!



Monday, April 16, 2012

Crafty Catch-up

The next two weeks will be mostly about cleaning and organizing, but I don't see why we can't have some crafty posts in between. 

I don't always make tutorials for the things that I create, but if any of you want to learn how I made or did something, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below. I'd be happy to either direct you to the tutorial that I used, or make one myself to share.

We've had a busy couple of weeks between Easter and family birthdays.
(BTW, I still have to get my pictures of us on Easter from my father-in-law. I have to remember to take my laptop to his house so I can upload them).


Princess Ava with Snow White & Cinderella
We went to a Chinese restaurant and tried out chopsticks!
Both of the girls were good at it!
I was also busy working on a hair clippy order for a friend. 
She wanted some Minnie Mouse clippies and some assorted ones as well. 






I think they turned out pretty cute. 

I tried to do different colors so they would match a few different outfits. 
I had already made them some headbands with removable clippies for family photos a few weeks ago, but I completely forgot to take pictures! 
These clips will clip right onto the headbands if they choose to wear them that way. 

Be sure to check in tomorrow morning for Day 2 of our 2-week clean-along! 

I have much more to share with you this week, so don't forget to follow me on Facebook! 

Monday! Kitchen Day!

Ok! Happy Monday, everyone! 

Are you ready to get started on that mess? 

I am SO ready!

_________________________

We're going to focus on a different room each day, sometimes 2 rooms.

There are things we need to do each day in addition to our focus room in order to keep the house straightened up. 

I will be adding some things to this checklist as we move on throughout the week. 

 Main Checklist:

  • Do at least one load of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, & put away!
  • Load and unload your dishwasher, or if you don't have one, wash your dishes.
  • Don't be lazy.When you remove items from one room, put the where they belong. Do not just toss them in their respective rooms. We are trying to avoid messes piling up.  
________________________

Today we're going to focus on the kitchen. 

The kitchen is one of my least favorite rooms to clean since I have to clean it so often. That's why I have to clean it first each week. If it doesn't get clean on Monday, the mess just piles up and I don't even want to walk in there, let alone cook or clean!

We're not  detailing today. We are just cleaning it so there isn't any clutter and your countertops and appliances aren't sticky or coated with food. 

Kitchen Checklist:

  • Clear your counters of dishes. Wash any dirty ones, and put away any clean ones. 
  • Clear off your kitchen table. There should be nothing left on it unless you have a centerpiece.
  • Clear your counters of any trash or items that do not belong in the kitchen.
  • Wipe down your countertops, table top, sink, and stove top with a wet soapy rag or a cleaning spray.  
  • Sweep the floor, thoroughly. 
  • If you have a quick & easy mop, go ahead and mop the floor. I use a Libman Freedom mop and I love that sucker!
By just following the checklist above, you will have a clean kitchen in just a few minutes. I know we didn't scrub or deep-clean anything, but we'll focus on those details next Monday when we revisit the kitchen. 

Your goal is to keep the kitchen picked up throughout the week.

Quick Tips:

Clean up after yourself after you make a sandwich or pour a drink.

Wipe the stove top & counters down after you finish cooking a meal.

Keep the dishwasher cycled so you can immediately put dirty dishes into it instead of piling them in the sink. 

Again, don't be lazy. It just takes an extra few seconds to put things away or into the dishwasher.

Don't go to bed with a messy kitchen. Most families start their day having breakfast in the kitchen. The last thing you want to do is wake up to dirty dishes and clutter everywhere.

Hopefully taking the time to do these things will start to form good habits!

You can do it!!!



Friday, April 13, 2012

Two Weeks to Clean!

Here is my initial reaction to having to clean the house:


Do you like my pink gloves?


This week, I asked my Facebook fans if they would be interested in a 2-week clean-along.
This way, we could all participate together and get a jump-start on Spring cleaning!
It's a lot easier to do when you've got others to help you with motivation.

Here's what I feel like with a little motivation:

GRRR!!! No mess stands a chance against this!
::motivation::

Quite a few of you showed interest in participating, so here are the details!

Week 1 will begin on Monday, April 16th. 

During this week, we will focus on getting the house straightened up.

We will be working on one or two rooms each day. 

Each morning, I will post which room(s) we will be focusing on for that day. 

There will also be small tasks included each day so the house doesn't fall back into disarray.



Week 2 will begin on Monday, April 23rd. 

During this week, we will focus on more detailed cleaning tasks. 

We will be going back through each room in our homes to clean and organize. 

Again, I will post which room(s) we will be focusing on each day so everyone can follow along.

______________________________________________ 


I will post checklists for you to follow along in each room. 
I know the specific tasks will vary for each of us since we all have different homes, but you can use the checklists as a guideline. 

Share this blog post with your friends! 

We all get tired of cleaning the house, especially if you have kids going behind you pulling things out faster than you can put them away.

Let's get all of our friends involved so we have accountability partners! 



Monday, April 9, 2012

More Easter Fun!

Before we get into the pictures of our Saturday, I want to update you on the whole chocolate deal. 

I did it. 
I went 40 days with no chocolate. 
Honestly, it was harder than I thought it would be. 
Unlike my sister-in-law, who gave up Coke and then couldn't finish even half of one on Sunday, I had absolutely no problem indulging. 
I have probably eaten enough chocolate today to last me all week. 
Now I seriously need to jump on the treadmill. 

_________________________________________________________

Now on to the cuteness that is my 3 A's. 

We went to an Easter egg hunt on Saturday.

It was pretty cool. A few houses in the neighborhood got together and hid eggs in all of their yards so it was one giant egg hunt. 


There were quite a few kids there. 


They even had crafts for the kids to do!


Middle A kept trying to get a head-start. 
She knows what's up when she sees colorful plastic eggs now. 


Big A had a blast finding the eggs.
She likes to see if she can find unique colored ones.
Gold, silver, iridescent....


Middle A understands the concept of hunting eggs.
She just doesn't quite have the speed thing down yet.


They still got quite a bit of eggs! 
I think between the two of them, there were about 80 eggs.

_______________________________________________________

Later that evening, we colored real eggs.


We colored on them with crayons and used tape to create designs.


Both of the girls love decorating eggs.


Here are a few of our egg-celent friends!


These are a few of our favorites.


That's not the end of our Easter weekend. I still have plenty more to update you on. 

Until then, hop over to our Facebook page. 
Click 'Like' over to the right --->
You can follow along on Facebook and give your opinion on what I should write about next.



Easter Weekend: Part 1

Wow! We had such a busy weekend!
Annie returned from her week-long visit to Tennessee on Friday afternoon.
My parents and I met in the middle for lunch so they could visit with Middle A & Little A for a little while.
Cracker Barrel!

Pops & Little A


After the two-hour drive home, we went to D's parents' house for Easter dinner and an Easter egg hunt. 


The kids had a blast finding the eggs!


Middle A had her own personal basket carrier.
(Thanks, Papa!)


Then there were the Easter baskets. 


I'm pretty sure they liked them.


Thanks, Grammy & Papa!



That was what we did on Good Friday. 
Tomorrow, I'll post more. There are so many pictures I want to share.
It would be ridiculous to put them all in one post.
Until then...



Friday, April 6, 2012

Follow along on Facebook!

Four A's and a D. now has a Facebook page.

Click the link to the right to 'like' the page ---->

You'll have opportunities to participate in polls, discussions, and even vote on future topics for my blog!
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm still going strong!

Do you remember this post from a few weeks ago when I vowed to give up chocolate for Lent?
It has been over a month since I last had chocolate. 
I have had zero. 
None.
Zilch.
I didn't even lick the spoon after stirring my daughter's chocolate milk. 
I stuck to my word.
I'm not gonna lie. There were moments when I was standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart looking at the Kit Kat bars, fighting the urge to grab one. I wanted it so badly I could literally taste the chocolate in my mouth.
But I fought the urge!
Now......
I am counting down the days until I can have some chocolate. 
Only a few more left!
I've been missing out on my favorite piece of candy ever: Cadbury Creme Eggs. 
Of course, the grocery store I do all of my shopping at has them positioned right as you walk in the door. Seriously. You have to walk past them to get into the grocery store. 
Not cool, Kroger. Not cool at all!

All I'm sayin' is the Easter Bunny had better be leaving Mommy some super chocolatey goodies in mine & Daddy's Easter basket on Sunday. 
Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Egg Hunts & Owls

This weekend I took Middle A & Little A to an Easter egg hunt. 
Little A is obviously too small to participate this year, but Middle A had fun!
The poor kid only got 4 eggs. Every time she bent down to get one, a bigger kid would come by and scoop it up before she could. I felt so bad for her, but she didn't care. She was just happy she got some eggs (or as Middle A says, "Aigs"). After the hunt was over, a little boy came over and put a few handfuls of eggs in her basket for her. Sweet, right?

Here is Little A hanging out with Grammy.


Middle A swinging and grinning!



This week is Spring Break. Big A has gone to Tennessee to spend time with my family. She loves being able to go by herself. I think it makes her feel big and independent. She has so much fun spending time with my parents and my siblings. I, of course, get picture message updates a few times a day to keep me up to speed with all of their adventures. 

Meanwhile, here at home I'm working on getting the house cleaned up and organized. I went to Hobby Lobby last week and bought some super-cute owl print PUL to make diapers out of. That's my motivation to get all of the cleaning and organizing done. I refuse to start sewing until the house is clean. It's my motivation. 

Look how stinkin' cute this PUL is!
Babyville Boutique Owl Friends PUL
Source

I'm gonna get my butt in gear and get the house clean tomorrow so I can get to work on those suckers! 

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