Preparing Your Kitchen To Host Thanksgiving Dinner
November is finally here which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
If you are hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year, you may want to start preparing since the cooking process can take a while and the mess will take a toll on your kitchen. While Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, it can also be stressful making sure to keep my house clean while trying to make the perfect meal to entertain friends and family. I try my best to split the process into steps and prepare things early if I can to prevent my kitchen from becoming a mess.
The nice thing about Thanksgiving is that some of the foods that are typically eaten on this holiday can be prepared ahead of time. This allows you to have more free time for your guests the day of and the extra focus on the important items, i.e. the turkey. The week of Thanksgiving would be the best time to start preparing your sides and desserts.
Before you begin though, make sure your pantry is stocked and your refrigerator is clean and organized.
With so many dishes to prepare and get ready for the big day, it is important that you have everything you need. The weekend before Thanksgiving, you may want to stop at the grocery store and pick up all of the ingredients you will need for your Dishes. If you wait too long and try and go closer to Thanksgiving Day you will find yourself in an overcrowded store while you search for the items you need. If you go ahead of time, you can decrease your stress and be more prepared. Once you get home from the store, you will want to make sure your refrigerator is clean and organized. When you begin cooking the dishes that are going to be prepared a few days before, you will want to have room to store them until the big day. If your refrigerator is not clean, you will find yourself stacking pans and making it hard to find things. Even though it may take some time to clean out your refrigerator, it is definitely worth it once you start cooking.
Once Thanksgiving Day is here, the real work begins. If you want the day to go smoothly, I suggest creating a List or at least taking the time to plan out how you are going to cook and when things need to be in the oven. As you prep and start the cooking process, you can begin to clean up in steps. If you wait to do all of the cleaning at the end you will be left with hours of dishes and a very dirty sink. If you begin cleaning after each dish has been prepared you will find you are much more organized and you will have a clean home much faster.
If you are like me and only have one oven, even beginning the cooking process a few days early is not enough to stop from having multiple dishes to prepare the day of. If you are having a lot of guests at your table, suggest that they each bring a dish of their choice and make sure to have them tell you ahead of time what they are bringing so that there is no overlap. You will soon find that you have less work for yourself and that your friends will even be happy to contribute their favorite traditions to the meal.
When the night is over and everyone has gone, don’t let the turkey lull you to sleep just yet. If you want to wake up the next morning and feel refreshed and with no cleaning to do, make sure to clean up the night before. Since you will have been cleaning as your prepare the meal, you should only be left with plates, silverware, and serving dishes from the meal itself. Even if the last thing you want to do is clean, take the extra hour and get everything put away. Maybe even wrangle the kids or your spouse to help out and make the job go faster. Once the dishes are all day and the day is over, your house will be clean once again after a wonderful day filled with family, friends, and
Halloween Candy Is Not Just For Trick or Treaters
The first day of October means it is officially time to start preparations for Halloween. When I think of Halloween, I think of dressing up as a fun character or animal, spending time with family, and eating lots of Halloween candy. When the holiday comes around, stores start stocking up and there are aisles upon aisles filled with every type of candy you can think of for the last night of October when the kids can go from house to house and trick or treat. I always find myself purchasing multiple bags of candy to give out, while the kids always end up coming home with their own stash of candy. After a long night of doorbell ringing and candy counting, they always come home with way more candy then they need, so I usually allow them to pick a certain amount for themselves, and then I find other uses for the rest of the candy. Here are just a few ideas for what to do with your extra Halloween candy.
1. Bake With The Candy
If you are like me and love to bake, this extra assortment of candy gives you a chance to try some new recipes with the different candy your kids have brought home. If you are creative, you can go beyond the regular chocolate desserts or candy corn topped cupcakes. Using this candy also helps save you from a trip to the grocery store or for having to spend more money next time you want o whip up a delicious holiday dessert.
2. Use Them As Decorations
Halloween candy these days comes wrapped in fall themed packages so that companies can sell more and say that they are different than the rest of the year. This is a good opportunity for you to use the candy, and the wrappers, to help decorate your home and make it look more festive. One of my favorite ways to do this is to sprinkle pieces of wrapped candy on my formal dining table with the rest of my fall decorations. This is a fun way to add a little touch to your fall table. You can even leave them there for Thanksgiving or when you host a get together so your guests can have an extra treat for after dinner. You can also use Halloween candy in candle holders. If you buy a clear candle holder, you can fill them with different candies, my favorite to use are candy corn, and then place your candle in. The candy will act as a support to hold the candle up and will give them a nice fall look.
3. Use The Candy As A Reward For When Your Kids Are Doing Chores
Here is a little trick to help keep your house extra clean. Even though your kids will receive their own Halloween candy, there is a good chance they will eat it all within a week or maybe two once you have allowed them only a certain amount to keep. After that, you can use the candy as a reward for when they get their chores done. Each chore can have a certain amount of candy that they can receive and it will be a fun way for them to help keep the house clean while also allowing them to have some of their candy back in smaller portions.
4. Give Some To Those Who Did Not Get Any
Once the top 3 tips have been finished and you find that you still have Halloween candy left over, you can find a place to donate your candy or just find someone to give it to who may not receive treats like this. I always love to find ways to give back and with the loads of candy that the kids always end up with, I love to give some of it away knowing whoever is receiving it appreciates it. I love having the kids go with me or having them pick out the candy to give away so that they get to play a part in giving back as well and they can see that Halloween isn’t just about candy and costumes.
While Halloween candy is fun to give away to all of the costume dressed children, you can use it for more than just that. Even if you do not have kids that are bringing home loads of candy, you may find that you have leftovers from handing candy out, which I always do, so you can try these tricks as well. You can even sneak a few pieces here and there for yourself.
☺ Happy Halloween!
Stress Free Baking With Kids
While I love to bake all kinds of desserts and treats, I find that it can be hard to spend the necessary time to bake when with kids running around the house who constantly are asking when it will be ready. Therefore, I love to find ways to incorporate them into the baking process so that they can see how it is done and to help keep them busy while it is baking.
Before the baking process begins, the kids and I like to sit down together and pick out what we want to bake next. This way they are choosing something they want to try and they get to see the different ingredients and steps needed to make each different dessert. Once the decision is made, it is time to search the pantry to see what ingredients we have and then head to the store for the ingredients that we don’t. If you have multiple kids, this is a great opportunity to have them take turns looking for different ingredients in the house and then helping you make a list for what you still need.
Once the shopping is over, the real work begins. I like to give each kid a task for the baking preparations so that there is not chaos in the kitchen for who should be doing what. Each time we bake I like to alternate their tasks so that they get to try new things and they do not get bored. We all take turns reading the directions and following the steps before the dessert goes in the oven. This teaches them to follow directions and to learn to measure correct amounts. Once everyone has done their steps and the dessert is in the oven, the waiting begins.
There are multiple ways to pass the time while the dessert is baking that will help keep the kids calm and focused. This could be a good time for them to do some of their homework or to do other chores around the house. Depending on what you are baking, there may be other preparations like decorations or frosting to be made that they can help you with while you are waiting. The key is to keep them busy so that you are not all staring at the oven or having them constantly ask if it is ready yet. Find what works best for you and your kids and keep it consistent every time you bake. If they know that it is homework time every time something is baking, this will create a great routine that helps keep them focused.
Baking can seem tedious or time consuming, especially with kids, but you can try some of these steps to incorporate them into the baking and you will find that it can be a lot less stressful. Not only less stressful, but even fun. You are getting your kids involved and teaching them new tricks that they can use as they grow up. Enjoy trying your next recipe with your kids and happy baking!
7 Cleaning Goals for Fall
Well, it’s official.
Summer has finally come to a close and the fall weather has started to creep in. While fall has some of the most beautiful weather and the prettiest colors, it also brings with it allergies, leaves, rain, and other things that can contribute to a dirty home. If you stay ahead of the game, you can keep your house clean for when fall comes around. I always like to set cleaning goals for each season to help me keep up with my home and make sure it stays in the best shape possible, so here are just 7 goals that I set that you can use to help keep your home clean this fall.
When summer ends, it is usually time to bring out the rake and get ready to clean up the leaves. When fall arrives, the wind, rain and chilly weather can bring a mess into your home, so a great idea is to try your best to not only keep your yard clean, but have a place to put those messy shoes and coats so that they do not track dirt into the house. If you do not have a mud room that is fine, you can still have a place to put dirty shoes, whether that be taking them off in the garage before coming inside or having a shoe rack to place them when you first come in.
2) Rotate Your Closet
When summer ends so does the warm weather, which means it is time to start bringing out the sweaters and long pants. If you do not do this already, you can help keep your closet organized by only having close in it that you can wear for each season. I like to use my guest room closet for all of my off season clothing and then rotate them in and out when it is time to wear them. This way you are not finding yourself rummaging through tank tops and shorts to find your fall weather clothes.
3) Stock Your Pantry
Not only does fall weather mean warmer clothes, fall is also a time for lots of baking and fall foods. In preparation for what most people say is their favorite season in terms of food, you may want to start stocking your pantry with some fall essentials. When you have a full pantry, you also will not find yourself having to venture into the cold or rainy weather as much and can stay home baking some yummy fall treats.
4) Clean Your Fireplace
Even if you do not get weather that is too chilly in the fall, you may want to clean your fireplace for when winter weather starts to creep in. If you have not used your fireplace since last winter it can get pretty dirty and even can get blocked when you try to use it. You can either hire someone to come and check your fireplace or you can check it for yourself to remove any soot if it is a wood fireplace and any dirt and dust if it is a gas fireplace. If these are not cleaned properly there is a risk of it not working properly when you do use it and there is even a risk of fire as well.
5) Decorate Your Home
Fall has some of the best seasonal decorations and I love when it is time to bring them out and add some great accents to my home. To add to a clean home, you can purchase some fall decorations that will help make your home look beautiful. There are a few key colors that remind me of fall; green, orange, brown, red and yellow. Using these colors you can decorate your house to be ready for the season. Some of my favorite fall decorations are: tablecloths, a wreath of leaves, pumpkins, and my favorite of all, fall scented candles.
6) Lighten Up Your Home With Fall Scents
When you are decorating your home for fall, the best accent to a clean home are some wonderful fall scents that will leave your home feeling clean and fresh. Fall scents are easy to find at any general store and these days there are tons of different scents that are reminiscent of fall. Adding a few candles, scents or potpourri around your home are easy ways to bring your home to the next level. A clean home does not just mean it looks beautiful but smells beautiful as well.
7) Clean Out Your Filters
The last thing you will want to have as a cleaning goal before the fall season begins is to clean out your filters. You may not realize it but your filters can get clogged up during the summer when you are using your air conditioning and once it gets cold you may not be using them until summer comes around again, leaving them dirty for months. Before you change seasons you will want to take some time and thoroughly clean out your filters to make sure they are not clogged and that way you will not have to remember to clean them once you are ready to use them again.
While these are not the only possible cleaning goals for fall, these are just some ideas of things you can do to make your transition to fall that much easier and keep your home clean and looking beautiful.
Keeping a Clean Pantry
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with a kitchen pantry, no matter how large or small, you will find that having one comes with positives and negatives. One positive is that you have a set location to keep all of your food and kitchen items that you can have easy access too, however this can lead to a mess of things just thrown into the pantry when you are trying to keep your kitchen clean.
By keeping your pantry clean you are able to cook more efficiently and you may even find you are saving more at the grocery store because you know all of the things that you have in your kitchen to cook with. If you want to keep your pantry clean, there are some tips for how to keep it as organized as possible.
If you do these two things in your pantry, you will find that it looks much cleaner and much more organized. Once you do these, it will also be much easier to keep the pantry clean for a much longer span of time. Take the time to organize and label your shelves and soon you will have a pantry you can be proud of.
Good luck! :)
Organizing and Cleaning for Back to School
It’s that time of the year again. It’s time to put away the swimsuits and pool passes and to start buying school supplies and back to school outfits. Not only is it important to have everything your kids need for that first day back at school, but you will want to make sure your home is ready for backpacks and school supplies to take over. Here are some ideas for organizing and cleaning for back to school.
The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time for your kids, and for you as well. The last thing you want to do is be stressed over messes in your home. These tips are just a few ways to help keep things calm when you are busy, and will allow you to come home to a clean house at the end of the day. Welcome back to school!
Seven Organizational Cleaning Hacks
We all know that the key to a clean and tidy home is regular cleaning, but life gets busy, and many of us find ourselves in time crunches where we need tips and tricks to clean up quickly. These easy organizational hacks will help decrease the amount of time it takes you to tidy up, and you will easily be able to maintain a state of tidiness in your home.
Drawer dividers can be used for any room in the house that needs extra organizational help. Whether you use them in the kitchen, bedroom, or even in the bathroom, drawer dividers help to keep items separate so they are much easier to find when you need them. No more jumbled drawers or time lost digging for missing items. Many stores have options for dividing your drawers, but if you are looking to save some money, you can use cardboard to create your own dividers.
If you want an easy way to label things now while allowing yourself to re-label later, chalkboard paint is an easy and fun way to stay organized. It can be used for many rooms in your home, but the most common use is in the kitchen. If you have a pantry or a wall in the kitchen that is free, you can use chalkboard spray or paint to make a chalkboard wall for your use. If you decide on your pantry, the backside of the door is a great place for your chalkboard wall, as it is easy to access and can be hidden as well if needed. One great way to use the chalkboard wall is to make your weekly grocery list. This allows you to have one location where all of your grocery needs can be found, and you are able to easily erase them when you are ready to make a new list. Using a grocery list helps to minimize random shopping and also makes sure you are getting everything that you need at the store.
If you do not want to use chalkboard paint in your home, you can use stickers or paper to label. The important thing is just that you are indeed making sure that items are labeled around your home. You can buy large or small labels to put on clear containers in your pantry, laundry room, bathroom, or anywhere else you want to be more organized. Not only will this look neater, but it can save you space.
While command hooks are most commonly known to hang pictures, they can also be used to help you stay organized. For example, you can place them inside cabinet doors in your kitchen to hang potholders, trash bags or even to hang pots and their lids. If you use them in your bedroom or bathroom, you can hang jewelry or headbands on them to prevent tangles and save space in your drawers.
Another great kitchen organizational hack is to use a Lazy Susan in your cabinets. If you do not know, a Lazy Susan is a turntable that is found in many kitchens or dining rooms. Their easy rotation is their most useful feature. Cabinets are commonly too tall, too deep or just not easy to access. This causes us to lose great cabinet space, or to overcrowd the fronts of our easy to reach pantries. When you put a Lazy Susan inside your cabinets, you are able to maximize the space by filling them up, while still being able to rotate and access everything you need in the back.
While using a shoe organizer for its intended purpose will already help you stay organized and keep your house clean, you can also use them for more than just that. You can place one over your pantry door and keep snacks and spices in them for easy reach. Likewise, you can put one in your bathroom to hold hair products, shampoo, conditioner and any other bathroom essentials you may have. The possibilities are endless. Look around the different rooms in your home and brainstorm where extra organization would be most helpful for you.
Last, but certainly not least, are magazine racks. Although they are wildly underused, magazine racks can be very helpful for many things other than simply holding your magazines. One use is found in the kitchen. If you turn them on their side, you can use magazine racks to hold soup cans, vegetables or kitchen utensils. Place one in your laundry room to hold all of your cleaning supplies. You can even use them in the foyer to hold your flip flops or other shoes all in one place.
The key to organization is to be innovative. There are all sorts of creative ways to stay organized and keep your home clean. If you try some of these hacks listed above, they may just inspire you to come up with some other hacks on your own. By staying organized, you are one step closer to a consistently clean home.
Cleaning Room by Room
Cleaning our entire home at once can be overwhelming and unrealistic. It is difficult to adequately clean that large of a space without becoming overworked and exhausted. Instead of frantically trying to cram our cleaning all into one day, it is better to break things down. If you break your house into smaller increments, you can focus on one section at a time and more efficiently clean your home. Your house will be tidier, you will be less overwhelmed, and your goal of a clean home will be more obtainable!
Here are some ideas for how to keep your house clean by breaking it down room by room:
1) Divide Your House into Sections
Before you begin, pick a general area to focus on. You can do this by room or by floor level, whatever you prefer. Make sure that your sections aren’t too large before you begin. Once you have your strategy, remember that you must stick to it! No cheating. You can also write out a plan for which days you will focus on each section. If you have 4 divisions, you could pick a week out of each month to tackle each section.
2) Write Tasks by Room
Once you have split your home into sections, write down the different tasks that you want to complete in each room. Find the best way that works for you to keep track of these individual tasks. You may want to write them on sticky notes to post in each room, keep a running master list on your phone, scribble them all down on a notepad or Whiteboard, or whatever else works best for you. The point is to make sure they are clearly in writing so that you do not forget any tasks, and also to hold yourself accountable as you work. No matter how minor, make sure to add every single item to your list. For example, if you are writing your kitchen list, it may include some of the following:
3) Once You Have Finished, Start Over
If you divide your house into areas and clean one section every week or so, by the time you finish, it will be time to start over again. By creating this continuous cycle of cleaning, you will consistently have a tidy home. In the meantime, the cleaning will be less taxing and stressful.
If you follow these general guidelines, you may even find that cleaning your house does not seem so tedious anymore. Instead of cramming cleaning in before company arrives, a quick pick-up will have your home ready for house-guests. Your new way of cleaning will become a normal part of your weekly schedule.
Here's a good one to add to your bookshelf:
"The Lost Art Of House Cleaning:
A Clean House Is A Happy Home"
Hostess Cleaning Techniques for the 4th!
The 4th of July is quickly approaching, and many of us will be celebrating with parties, barbecues and other fun summer festivities. While it is great to gather together to celebrate the nice weather and summer holidays, being the host or hostess of an event can be a bit overwhelming. It becomes tricky to juggle the event planning and deep cleaning, while still keeping things tidy throughout the preparations. Here are just a few things you can do before, during, and after a summer party that will help keep your house clean and limit the amount of work you do while hosting.
Before guests arrive:
We all know the pressure to deep clean our homes before company arrives. However, sometimes life gets in the way and there just isn’t enough time. If a deep clean is unrealistic, there are easier options available. Consider only organizing the main levels or rooms where your guests will primarily spend their time. Scrub the guest bathroom, vacuum the living room floor, wipe down the kitchen counters, and shut all of the other doors in the house. There is no need to waste time on rooms that will not be entered.
We LOVE this Martha Stewarts Appetizer Book to Prep!
Depending on how large the party is going to be, you may want to start prepping the food hours or even days ahead of time. Consider what dishes you are making and how much storage space you have before prepping the food early. Save foods that can spoil for the day-of, but throw together easy appetizers ahead of time. Depending on how much freezer space you have, you can go ahead and prep casseroles and other similar dishes so that on the day of the party they are ready to be tossed right into the oven. Clean up after yourself each day as you prepare, and you will skip the large mess entirely. Planning ahead will help you to avoid stress on party day.
While guests are there:
If you are hosting an outdoor barbecue, try and limit the activity to just a couple rooms inside. As we mentioned before, shutting doors will encourage guests to stay in central locations. This will help keep mess confined to certain sections of the house, and you avoid having guests track dirt all over your home. If the weather is nice, you can even make it an outdoor only party.
Another helpful tip is to use paper products for outdoor or informal events. This will make clean-up very easy at the end of the night. The less dirty dishes, the better. After all, you deserve to sit down and put your feet up after the party is over!
Even if you do not choose to use paper products, you can make clean-up easier by slowly tidying up as the party is going on. Clear plates between courses and make sure there are plenty of trash cans out for your guests. This also eliminates the problem of food sitting out too long or attracting bugs.
After guests leave:
Once your guests leave, the best thing you can do is immediately clean up the large messes. Hosting an event can be exhausting, and cleaning will probably be the least appealing thing to do afterwards. However, if you take only 15-20 minutes to tidy up, you can make a lot of progress. Gather up all of the leftover trash, cover and refrigerate any leftover food, and wipe up any spills. Once you are finished, you’ll be able to rest happily knowing that the party was a success and the mess is gone.
These tips and tricks will help you keep things clean while hosting a stress-free party. Most importantly, take time to turn the music up, make yourself a plate of food and enjoy the fun.
A little mess never hurt anyone!
It’s Vacation Time!
Summer is here, which means it is finally time for vacation!
Whether you are preparing to leave or coming home from a vacation, the process of packing and unpacking can leave your house in a mess. In order to prevent the stress of coming home to a messy house, there are a few important steps to making packing and unpacking a tidy process.
The first thing you should do while packing is make a list of what you will need for your trip. By having a detailed list, you are reducing the risk of randomly grabbing things from the closet to throw in your bag, or over-packing and having to take things out. The list is also helpful to ensure that you do not forget anything you may need for the vacation. Once you finish adding items from your list, go through it again and physically check off the things you have packed to avoid missing anything.
Once you have efficiently packed, you may want to ensure that the rest of your house is tidy as well. If you leave for vacation with a clean house, you will not have to worry about returning home to a mess. The end of vacation is already a bummer. The last thing you want to do when you return is more cleaning.
This does not mean that you have to deep clean your entire house, but there are some specific things you may want to tidy up. Put your clothes and dishes away, vacuum main areas, sweep the floors, wipe down your counters, and take care of any other regular cleaning chores. If you want to clean further and make sure everything is extra tidy, go for it. The cleaner your house is before your vacation, the less you have to do when you return.
While it is important to pack well, it is even more important to unpack productively in order to keep your house clean once you return. After a nice, relaxing vacation the last thing on your mind will be to immediately unpack and organize your things. However, if you do this, you will avoid the all too common habit of dropping your suitcase of dirty clothes at the door. Instead of leaving it there until you finally get sick of seeing it, go ahead and put everything away.
It will take less time than you think, because most of the clothes will go straight into the dirty clothes hamper. You won’t regret it tomorrow!
You should be able to enjoy your much-needed vacation, and by following these few steps you can avoid the stress of a messy home. Instead, you will be able to relax and make the best use of your time off.