Thoughts & Confessions

Good morning, all!

As you may or may not know, I have been “playing” Teresa at our church this week working in the office. I love Teresa. I love my church. I told my husband last night that I remembered what I loved about working: nothing. 🙂 Of course, with a little more planning on my part, I definitely would have fared better.

Confession #1: I didn’t plan well. My husband is working nights this week, so he leaves for work at 4:45. He eats dinner before then. I should have planned slow cooker meals all week. And could have done so quite easily. Instead, he’s had to “make do” with leftovers, sandwiches, etc. I mean, I fed him, but still.

Confession #2: I haven’t done Tuesday’s challenge yet and cleaned the bathrooms. I cleaned them Sunday before the birthday party, so they’re not bad. I just haven’t done it. I will definitely need to do the vacuum and mop thing today. We’ve had rain showers/storms every day this week, and my floors are looking less than stellar because of all the wet feet that have tracked across them.

Confession #3: I haven’t put away all the groceries from my shopping trip last night. They are still sitting on the kitchen table. After shopping last night, I put away the cold stuff and sat down and had a cup of coffee. The end.

Confession #4: I left dishes in the sink last night. I loaded the dishwasher and ran it, but there were a couple of pans that didn’t fit. I should have washed them and put them away. I should have. Instead, I laid down to read a book and fell asleep.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that we all have those weeks when things just don’t go quite right. Nothing necessarily life-changing, but tiring nonetheless. And I am apparently quite the creature of habit. And when my daily “to do” list gets interrupted, I don’t adapt as well as I used to. We can chalk it up to old age (yikes!) or laziness (double yikes!), but I don’t know that it’s either. I have just gotten so used to doing things a certain way that when I can’t do them THAT WAY, I get stubborn (confession #5?) and just don’t do them. Period. And I will be the one spending Saturday playing “catch up.” I will be aggravated with myself. But I’ll get it done and be back on track next week.

So, confession #6. I need to work on my flexibility. I need to get it back. I lost it somewhere and that’s no good. Just being honest here. Letting you know that as much as I try, I don’t always have it together and get it all done. None of us can.

I saw this quote on someone’s Facebook post earlier: “Perfection” is just a street sign at the intersection of “Impossible” and “Frustration” in Never Never Land.

Keep that in mind. We aren’t striving for perfection here. If we do, we’ll miss out on the important stuff. We’re just striving for a little structure and a guideline that will keep us away from the dead end street that is probably called “Overwhelmed.”

Y’all have a blessed day. I’m going to go break into Teresa’s chocolate stash. 🙂

Lynne

Recipe Share Wednesday: Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Here is my recipe for chicken salad. Now, don’t tell me you can’t make it or that it tastes better if I make it (I’m on to that scam!). You can do it. I know you can! This recipe  came from my sweet Nanny.
*3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cooked and diced or shredded (as finely as you like depending on your preference; I like mine chunky)
*2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
*1 large or 2 small apples (I use Red Delicious), peeled and diced
*sweet pickle relish (as much or as little as you like)
*about 3/4 cup chopped pecans
*mayonaise (you can use light mayo if you must)- use enough to get the consistency you like
*salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together. That’s all there is to it. Put some on a croissant…yum! Or crackers. Or just eat it from the bowl like my son does.

Tuesday Tips: Vacation Sanity Savers

It’s summertime. I’m sure lots of you have vacations planned. Some of you may have more than one. We don’t have one on the books yet as we generally like to travel when school starts back in the fall. Other than our anniversary trip which is usually my husband’s responsibility to plan.

Our first big family vacation was to Florida. The kids were 5 and 3 at the time. We were to be gone a week and I don’t know whether my husband thought we’d never see Florida again or what, but he planned a BIG vacation. As in, something every day. During that week – and I am not kidding – we went to Kennedy Space Center, Sea World, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios (then MGM), and Universal Studios. Seriously. On that Wednesday, we went to Sea World. We were there less than two hours, possibly less than one. The children were ill and exhausted. I was ill and exhausted. We went back to our condo and slept almost the entire day. That trip was a learning experience to say the least. (And I may have threatened divorce if my husband EVER tried to cram that much activity into one week again. EVER.)

When you’re traveling – especially with children – here are a few things that I found helped make vacations less stressful. Experience is harsh teacher. 🙂

1. Plan time for rest.

If at all possible, plan for days of rest during your vacation. I know a lot of people travel to places like Orlando with the theme parks or other places where there are so many things to do. So many choices. And you want to do them all. DO NOT TRY AND DO THEM ALL IN ONE WEEK. It’s beyond tiring. After that first Florida trip, I planned out our itinerary for future trips. I always allow for a day of rest between attractions; if it’s a shorter trip – less than a week – then at least a morning or an afternoon where there’s time to nap, sit around the pool, etc. Just some relaxation time built in. Otherwise, tired people get ornery. Ornery people like to argue. Not pleasant.

2. Have an itinerary.

Really. Plan your vacation out. Maybe not down to the minute, but have a plan of some sort to go by. When we went back to Disney last year, I didn’t do this. The kids were older. I figured that they could do what they wanted and come and go as the pleased. We stayed on the Disney property so it was just a matter of walking to the front of the resort and getting on the right bus. My daughter later told me that she wished I had had the plan. She didn’t like there not being structure. Go figure. Obviously, you have to have Plan B’s in case of inclement weather (when we went to Disney last year it was COLD!). I generally have a day for rest in the middle of the week, and a half day or at least an early night the day before we leave.

3. If possible, choose a condo over a hotel room.

For me, having a condo space so that I can go to MY room – not just sit on my bed – makes a huge difference in how much love I feel towards the others I’m vacationing with. 🙂 A condo might (or might not) cost a little more, but my sanity is worth it. With little ones, you’ll be able to let them nap away from everyone else. You can nap away from everyone else. I like private balconies where I can sit in the mornings and drink my coffee and read my Bible. I love my family. I really do. I do NOT want to spend a week with them in a hotel room. Been there; done that. No thank you. Hotel rooms shrink a little bit every day of vacation. Were you aware of this phenomenon? I also like condos because lots of them come with washers and dryers. If at all possible, I do laundry before we leave so I don’t have to do it when I get home.

4. Plan your meals.

Research where you’re going to be. Decide how you’ll handle breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Another reason that I like condos is that they have kitchens. And while I don’t want to spend hours cooking while on vacation, I also don’t want to spend all my money eating out. I always take my crock pot on vacation. We eat breakfast in the condo and lunch, too, unless we’re too far away. If we eat lunch out, we try to eat dinner in. We try to only eat out dinner once (maybe twice) because it’s so expensive. (Note: We are not all that big on eating out anyway, so we may just be weird.) But theme park tickets are pricey. Condos are pricey. You can save a lot of money by doing a little planning and eating in. We also carry a picnic lunch and snacks for our trips to and from our vacation location.

5. Have a budget and stick to it.

This is the hardest one, of course. Decide how much you’ll spend on your vacation. If possible, save up beforehand so you won’t be tempted to use that credit card. Factor in gas, food, tickets, lodging, and some for those unexpected things that inevitably pop up. Then keep track of what you spend. It’s easier if you’re using cash or your check/debit card. I stick an envelope in my purse and toss all the receipts in there. I write on the outside of the envelope what we spent and where and keep a running total. Then I know when we need to slow down and be more careful. We don’t have a credit card so when we run out, we run out. It’s a lot less stressful to go home without a looming credit card bill.

Do you have a helpful vacation tip that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. I don’t travel with little ones anymore, so I”m sure there are quite a few things that I’ve left out. I just touched on the “big” things.

Leave a comment and share your tips.

Lynne

 

Summer Catch-up: Challenge #3

Good Monday morning!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I got to celebrate my great-nephew’s first birthday yesterday and – despite the rain and having to move all those people INSIDE – it went well and it was fun. He’s such a cutie patootie! There were over 30 people in my house eating dinner. My house is NOT large. Talk about togetherness. 🙂 This week I am playing “Teresa” at church while she vacations at the beach. The beach! Obviously, I love her lots and hope she has a great time. (Teresa, I expect a souvenir. Just saying.) 😉

So we are halfway through the summer catch-up challenge. After two weeks, I hope you are getting into the groove of a summer cleaning schedule. That little schedule will help you have lots of time left to enjoy the beauty of summertime. No major projects here. Just a few little things to keep you on track so that at summer’s end you aren’t faced with MOUNTAINS of things to get done before school starts back and it’s back to reality.

So, some of these are repeats from last week because that’s what a schedule is. Certain things for certain days (if at all possible), leaving weekends as free as possible to get out there and enjoy life. Or stay inside where it’s cool and enjoy life. Whichever floats your boat.

Monday: Menu planning day

Now, if Monday isn’t a good day for you to menu plan, do it on the day that works for you. I will say that it’s easier to plan before you go grocery shopping than after. Otherwise, you somehow end up missing one key ingredient. And, if you’re like me, you go back to the store to get that ONE ingredient and somehow spend $50 or more. Happens all the time. It’s a mystery.

Tuesday: Clean the bathrooms.

You know the drill. If I had a cleaning fairy, I’d want her to clean the bathrooms. I do change the hand towels in the bathrooms every other day at least. And when I do that, I wipe down the sink. I usually run a disinfectant wipe over the toilet a couple of times a week, too. But on cleaning day, the bathrooms get “the works.” And then I rest.

Wednesday: Clean the kitchen.

As I tell my kids about their rooms (and laundry and dishes, etc.), “It won’t clean itself.” Sad, but true. I clean my kitchen every day, but once a week, I CLEAN my kitchen. You know what I mean. If there were twin cleaning fairies, one could clean the bathrooms and one could do the kitchen. How awesome would that be?

Thursday: Dust, vacuum, and mop.

I have hardwood floors throughout the house. And four cats. And people with long hair. Did you know that cat fur and human hair meet at the edges of hardwood floors and form clumps of furry/hairy grossness? On a regular basis. I could vacuum every day (but I don’t) and the clumps would be replaced the very next day. So I actually do vacuum every other day. But once a week, I vacuum under the furniture (where dust bunnies live and multiply). Mopping gets done once, sometimes twice, a week. This week, dust your ceiling fans, too, if you have them. No need to be slinging dust around while you’re trying to stay cool.

Friday: Thirty-minute walk-through and pick up.

Before your weekend begins, walk through the house and pick up, put away, and do a general straightening. Fluff the pillows. Return books to shelves. That kind of thing. Just get the house in a general state of order so that you don’t have to spend the weekend cleaning. That doesn’t make for a fun weekend. Remember to get a small basket for each person in  your house. Then they can walk through themselves and pick up their own stuff and return it to where it belongs. Note: If you have teenagers, this may mean that the basket gets put on the floor of their room or everything in the basket gets dumped on the floor. Just get your basket back before it disappears into the mysterious lost space that is a teenager’s room.

And don’t forget to keep doing a load of laundry (or one type or one person’s) every day so that you don’t have to do laundry on Saturday. Unless you just enjoy spending a whole day doing laundry. I personally do not. Keep exercising. I do believe that 30 minutes a day is recommended. (Of course, if you’ve never exercised before, consult your physician. That’s my medical disclaimer.)

Hope you have a terrific week!

Lynne

Other Homemade Cleaners

Guest Post from Julia Young

Additional Cleaners

 

Not everything for cleaning is narrowed down to either laundry, kitchen, bathroom, or floors. There are some items that needed to dust, clean windows, and all those other little things that aren’t in the kitchen or bathroom.

 

Wood Dusting Spray

1/3 cup water

2 Tbsp Murphy’s Oil
10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well. Spray and immediately clean with a microfiber cloth.

 

Window Cleaner

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

10 drops of lemon essential oil

 

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well. Spray and wipe clean with microfiber cloth.

 

Wall Cleaner

1 cups water

3/4 cup white vinegar

10 drops of essential oil of your choice (I use orange because it helps with removing sticky residue.

 

Combine all ingredients in a small bucket and stir to combine. Using a clean sponge, ring out excess soultion and wipe the area to be treated. Remember to avoid water drip lines work from the bottom up.

 

Fabric-Freshener Spray

1 cup water

2 tsp unflavored vodka or witch hazel

1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

5 drops of essential oil of choice

 

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well until cornstarch or arrowroot powder has dissolved. Spray 6-8 inches of fabric or carpet. Shake between uses.

 

Additional Air Freshener Tricks

  • Combine baking soda and a little lemon juice (or a few drops of essential oil)  in decorative dish or bowl to absorb household odors and freshener the air.
  • Add spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or rosemary with a couple apple, orange, or lemon slices and water to a pan on the stove. Simmer on the stove, adding water periodically so that the mixture doesn’t burn.

 

 

 

Thursday Thoughts

Good afternoon!

I hope you are all having a good week. Tomorrow officially starts Summer 2013. Time flies though, and summer will have come and gone before you know it. (My son works at Staples and they are already getting in back to school stuff. Seriously. And school just let out a couple of weeks ago it seems.) I think that summer lasted longer when I was younger. We really did enjoy the lazy days of summer. Outside. In the heat. With the mosquitoes! Have mercy!

So how are you doing with your challenges? Today is dust/vacuum/mop day. I’m doing my best to ignore the dust but it’s still there. So I guess I’ll get to it shortly. Laundry is done and is hanging on the line. I didn’t get to clean bathrooms yesterday between appointments and babysitting, so I have those to do as well. So you know how much fun I’ll be having when I get off the computer in a few minutes.

Is there anything in particular that you are struggling with? That you are finding hard to keep up with? If so, let me know and I’ll try to address it for you. If I don’t have a clue, I’ll try to find someone who does. 🙂

Hope you have a great afternoon! I’m going to enjoy a cup of coffee and a few minutes of reading before I tackle those pesky chores.

Lynne

Recipe Share Wednesday: Baked Chicken & Zucchini

Baked Chicken and Zucchini (modified from a recipe fond on allrecipes.com)

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup dry bread crumbs (I used Panko crumbs so it took a bit more than a cup; I like them because they are crunchy)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 tablespoons olive oil (I used a bit more as needed)

5 medium zucchini, thickly sliced (*or a combination of zucchini and yellow squash)

1 tomato, thinly sliced (you can use thicker slices if you like…has to be thin for us to eat them)

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (I used Italian blend instead because that’s what I had)

1-2 teaspoons dried basil – to your taste (or 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil)

In a shallow bowl, beat egg, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Set aside 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs. Place remaining bread crumbs in a large resealable plastic bag (or another bowl). Dip chicken in egg mixture then coat with bread crumbs.

In a skillet on medium heat, cook chicken in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (this was not enough for the Panko crumbs – I used the whole 4 tablespoons and added just a drizzle to cook the zucchini) for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Set aside. In the same skillet, saute the zucchini in remaining oil until crisp tender. (I cooked them just long enough for them to get lightly brown on both sides. Didn’t want them to be “squishy” when baked.)

Place zucchini in a lightly greased (or sprayed with cooking spray) 13×9 baking dish. Sprinkle reserved bread crumbs over the zucchini. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup cheese, basil, and remaining salt. Top with chicken. Place a tomato slice over each piece of chicken. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Tuesday Tips: Kitchen Odds & Ends

So…as I was finishing the whole “clean your kitchen from top to bottom thing,” I started thinking about little tips or suggestions for the kitchen. (By the way, my kitchen cleaning took longer than 30 minutes on a Thursday. Shopping at Costco in bulk creates new problems to be dealt with. And lots of rearranging. Geez.) Here are a few that I came up with or use (meaning someone else came up with them and I thought, “Yeah, that’ll work.”). Please share any tips that you have. I always love new time-saving or space-saving ideas. That’s all part of simplifying, right?

Anyway, here are my ten. I hope you will share yours with us as well! Pretty please?

Blessings, Lynne

NOTE: Some of these you may have seen in other posts. Sometimes I need to see them in “writing” again to get back to doing them, so they’re for me. 🙂

1. Clean the fridge out every week.

“Yes, Lynne, every week. On Monday. The day before trash pick up.” Otherwise, when you go to the store, you will be doing some creative cramming to get everything in your fridge. (If I get brave enough, I’ll post a picture of what mine looked like before yesterday’s cleaning out.) When you creatively cram things into your fridge, you will inevitably need whatever got put the furthest back on the shelf. Without fail. And then you have to take it all back out, get the thing you needed, and re-cram the stuff back in. It’s very frustrating and occasionally leads to kicking and yelling at the refrigerator. The poor innocent refrigerator.

2. Make a note of the date you open something.

When you open a carton of chicken broth or jar of spaghetti sauce and you don’t use it all, mark on the lid or top – with a permanent marker – the date that you opened it. When you do the following week’s refrigerator cleaning and find that the carton or jar is still in there and unused, freeze what’s left. Measure it and pour it into a freezer bag (or bags), label the bag with contents and date, and lay it flat in the freezer. And then remember that it’s in the freezer the next time you are cooking and need it, rather than opening another carton or jar. Failing to note the date you open a carton or jar can result in you opening the carton and being knocked down by the smell of some rotten broth, or discovering that your spaghetti sauce has enough mold on it to make your own antibiotics. (Do not make your own antibiotics.)  Neither is very pleasant.

3. Schedule one dinner (or Sunday lunch even) to be a leftover “buffet.”

I love leftover buffet night because: 1. I do not have to cook that night. 2. I can eat mashed potatoes AND pizza if I want, and no one looks at me like I’m weird. 3. It gets half of the cleaning out the refrigerator taken care of.  (I usually eat leftovers for lunch anyway, and yesterday I ate a slice of spinach Alfredo pizza with a side of braised carrots. Because I could.) I wish that Thursday night could always be leftover buffet night, but I choose the night based on whether or not my husband needs leftovers to take for lunch the next day. I won’t make him eat leftovers for lunch and dinner. At least, not usually. Sometimes he just has to deal. On those days, I strongly suspect he pops into a fast food place and has a little something more. Just a suspicion.

4. Putting a little bit of rice in your salt shaker keeps the salt from clumping.

Here in good old South Carolina, we have ridiculous humidity. I mean, really, we do. Occasionally, I fill the salt shaker and forget to add the rice. For example, last week we had several humid, rainy days. I had filled the salt shaker and forgotten the rice. I’d go to add salt to something and, of course, it wouldn’t come out. It was just frustrating. This is not a huge deal, just a minor aggravation. But still.

5. If you cook any kind of chicken on the bone, take the time to make your own chicken broth/stock. If you cook a whole chicken or chicken breasts with the bone in, or even if you buy a rotisserie chicken, throw the “carcass” into the slow cooker, add an onion (cut into 4-5 large chunks), a couple of carrots, a bay leaf, and a pinch of poultry seasoning. Let that stuff cook on low overnight in your crock pot. Turn off the crock pot in the morning and let the carcass cool. Remove as much of the bones as you can, then pour the broth/stock through a fine strainer into a bowl. You might need to strain it again into another bowl. When it’s completely cooled, measure it out in 1-cup, 2-cup or 1/2- cup amounts, label freezer bags accordingly, and pour it into the bags. Freeze them so that they are flat and then stack them when they are frozen so they take up less room. The next time a recipe calls for broth, you’ll have it on hand. And it’s better – and more flavorful – than the canned stuff.

6. Try new recipes.

Be brave. Be bold. Try new stuff. Make a point to try new recipes at least once or twice a month. Or even once a week. Not necessarily “exotic” stuff, just things you’ve not made at home before but enjoyed at a restaurant. I remember the first time I made chicken Marsala at home. I said to my husband, “We will never have to pay “$50 for two people to eat chicken Marsala at a restaurant again!” If you eat at someone else’s table and they serve something you really enjoyed, ask for the recipe. Most people are happy to share. And if not, you can find recipes for almost anything online. I love trying new recipes! Sometimes they don’t turn out as good as they sounded, but sometimes they’re even better and go in the “keepers” file. I like when that happens. 🙂

7. Spice it up.

It was a long time before I ventured past the salt, pepper, and cinnamon on the spice aisle. But, boy, when I did, it was a happy day! Now when recipes call for thyme or dry mustard or paprika, I’ve got it covered. I have a drawer full of spices and a basket full of spice blends. And if you’re on a low-salt diet, there are lots of options available to give your food some flavor without the sodium. But, by the way, there’s regular table salt. And sea salt. And my personal favorite – kosher salt. And freshly ground pepper…mmmm. And, yes, your spice drawer or cabinet should be alphabetized. I mean, really. How else will you be able to find the one you need?

8. Don’t leave dishes in the sink overnight.

Sigh. This is my least favorite thing to do: wash dishes in the sink that didn’t fit in the dishwasher after dinner. Or that mysteriously got dirtied after dinner was over and I thought the kitchen was closed for the night. Or that just can’t go in there. I mean, I really do NOT like to wash dishes. At night. When I’m tired. Or I just want to go to bed and read. BUT (and yes, that’s a big BUT), I really, really hate to get up in the morning to a sink full of dishes. I also don’t want to issue an open invitation for little critters and creepy-crawlies to pay a visit to my kitchen for a midnight buffet. So, even if I’m tired and don’t want to, I (almost) always do the dishes in the sink before I go to bed. I appreciate my hard work in the morning.

9. Recycle and compost if you can.

Recycling is one of the easiest things you can do to help our little planet. Most cities offer a recycling service. Most counties have a landfill where you can take your recyclables if you don’t have pick up service. Really. It’s not hard. Just get a container if one isn’t provided and drop the stuff in there. I rinse everything out (again, no invites to critters) and drop it in the recycling bin. We don’t have to sort ours, but I would if I needed to. My recycle bin sits just off my back deck, so I can just step out there and drop things in. If you can compost, keep a large, inexpensive bowl on the counter top and drop your veggie peels, egg shells, coffee filters, tea bag, etc. in throughout the day. Once a day, trek out to the compost bin/pile, and empty the bowl. When you come back in, rinse or wash the bowl and sit it back on the counter. Leaving the compost bowl full and sitting on the counter is yet another invitation to bugs to meet up with their buddies in your kitchen for a snack. (Are you aware that I don’t like bugs? Especially roaches. Eww. So I don’t want to do anything that would give them the idea that they are welcome in the house.)

10. Every once and a while, cook through your stockpile (if you have one).

If you have a grocery stockpile, every once in a while, it’s good to cook through it and empty the cabinets. Say every couple of months. I am in need of doing that right now. My pantry overfloweth. My cabinets are filled to the brim. I realize that this is a blessing…food a’plenty. However, I’m ready to see some empty shelf space. Since I’ve already made my menu plan for this week, I’ll plan for next week to be a “cooking through” week. And, in the meantime, I’ll try not to add much to it. I’ll ignore those “buy one, get one free” ads. I will! I must! So I’ll pull out two or three cookbooks one afternoon this week, sit at the table gazing into the pantry and plan according to what I see. I’ll be looking for some new recipes to try. Certainly something with pasta as I seem to have an abundance of that.

Summer Catch-up Challenge #2

Good Monday morning!

I can say that because I’m actually writing this on Sunday afternoon. Not Monday morning. Monday mornings have a bad reputation, not entirely undeserved. 🙂 But it’s a new day, a new week…another chance to get moving toward our simplifying goals. So, yes, a good Monday morning it is!

Always keep in mind that it’s those little changes, done over and over until they are little habits (good habits!) that can really make a difference in our day-to-day lives. Now there are times when we need to make a big old change and those are tough! But the little ones aren’t so bad. And it’s much less overwhelming to do one or two little things at a time than one BIG one. At least for me. Sometimes we have to bite the bullet and tackle the big stuff and just get it out of the way. And be done. Period. And if you have one of those projects staring you in the face, well then, just do it. Get it over with. (I have one that involves painting. Thus, I am procrastinating. Don’t be like me.)

Here are this week’s daily challenges. Little things to help us get caught up where we might have fallen behind. Little things that we CAN accomplish. Give yourself a gold star! Treat yourself to ice cream. I’m thinking a manicure is in my future if I can get through this week feeling successful and accomplished. All of these challenges have likely been addressed before as part of a longer post involving a bigger challenge. If you need to look back on the “big” project challenges, you should be able to find them on the blog (or under “Notes” on the Facebook page).  So here we go.

Oh, and remember to do a load of laundry per day so you don’t have to spend the weekend doing that un-fun task. 🙂

Monday: Menu planning day. (This one will repeat every week. It’s that important.)

Make a menu plan for your week. Plan dinners at least. If you don’t want to plan too specifically, plan and shop for 4-5 meals and then decide which one you want to fix when you get up in the morning. If you can do something ahead of time – as in before you actually start cooking dinner – do it. For example, if you’re planning tacos on Thursday night, you can brown hamburger meat on the day you grocery shop or on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. That saves about 20 minutes when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the cooking in the evening. Pre-chop veggies. Pre-assemble casseroles. Anything to take the stress off during the dinner hour.

Tuesday: Tackle the mail.

If you’ve been letting your mail pile up, set aside 30 minutes or so to get it back under control. (There is a post dedicated to conquering the mail.) Shred the junk mail. Put your bills in order. (I like to put the bills in their envelopes – even if I pay them online – and put the due date in the top right-hand corner where the stamp goes. Then I put them in order by due date and put them in the mail holder. Bills get paid on Thursdays because that’s pay day, so I check them on Thursday and pay whatever needs to be paid before the next pay day.) Set aside anything that needs a response from you, and then plan to respond – if not today, then definitely by Friday. If something needs to go on your calendar, put it there. Once your mail pile is manageable, spend five minutes every day keeping it that way. When you walk in the door with it, sort and shred as needed. Don’t let it pile up.

Wednesday: Bathroom cleaning day.

Yes, you have to clean them every week. Unless you like mold and mildew. (And general grossness if there are boys in your house.) Cleaning bathrooms is one of those chores that I think I’d pay someone to do if I could. It’s gross. I don’t like it. It has to be done. (Insert heavy sigh here.)

Thursday: Dust and vacuum your living areas.

I constantly try to convince everyone in my family that I shouldn’t dust or vacuum due to my allergies. I guess they’re not buying it. Well, my husband does vacuum pretty frequently, but if left to anyone else in my family, the dust would take over. Completely. It would be inches thick and I’d be sneezing and coughing like nobody’s business. So, alas, I do it.(And I usually take a Benadryl after.) And if you’ve dusted and vacuumed and you have time, you might as well mop. Oh, the sparkle and shine you will be seeing. 🙂

Friday: Walk-Through and Pick Up

Walk through your living areas and pick up stuff that is out of place. I keep baskets handy for both of my (grown) kids. I toss their stuff, including folded laundry, into their baskets and sit them near the bottom of the stairs. Then they can take their own stuff upstairs. So just do a general straightening, fluffing, and touch-up job. Then if unexpected guests show up, you can let them in and not be embarassed, rather than exiting quickly through the back door or pretending you’re not home. Even if all the cars are in the driveway.

Then just enjoy your weekend. Do something fun and get some rest.

That’s it! Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Except maybe Thursday. But that’s just because I don’t like to vacuum and dust. This is an established fact. 🙂

I hope your week is abundantly blessed!

Lynne

Lynne’s Menu Plan for the Week

Hi, ya’ll!

Here is my menu plan for this week. If there’s a link to a recipe, I’ve included it. If you want a recipe that isn’t included, just ask. Hope this is helpful. 🙂

Happy cooking!

Lynne

Monday (We do “Meatless Mondays” just so you know)

Tuesday( Belated Father’s Day celebration as hubby had to work nights on Father’s Day)

  • Grilled steaks (marinated in honey, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and meat tenderizer),
  • Baked potatoes
  • Salad
  • Rolls (homemade if I’m being ambitious)

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Here’s the link to the homemade cream of chicken soup. You’ll never want to use the canned stuff again. http://www.stacymakescents.com/homemade-cream-of-chicken-soup

Saturday

  • Grilled burgers and hot dogs
  • Grilled corn on the cob
  • Any other veggie I can get on the grill