Archive for the ‘Cleaning’ Category

Simplify the Clutter Resource List

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

A big thank you again to Laura, from I’m An Organizing Junkie, for joining us today on MomAdvice Simplified. Laura had some really invaluable tips for cutting the clutter in our homes and ideas for making our lives more organized.

I completely forgot about the code word for the day for the podcast. I apologize about that- I am feeling a bit scattered today. If you email me at amy(at)momadvice(dot)com and tell me one frugal organizing solution that we recommended during the half hour, you will get an extra entry for the iPod Touch!

Here is the resource list from our show:

Menu Planning Mondays
- Join in on the menu-planning round-up each Monday on I’m An Organizing Junkie. Hundreds of people participate and it can help breathe some new life into your menu plans.

Organizing Polly Pockets- One question on the chat was how to organize Polly Pockets and all of their pieces. Laura has a great solution for this that you should definitely check out.

Organize Your Week- This article offers some general guidelines for simplifying your week and routines. By doing this, you will have some time to cut the clutter. I also share my idea for setting aside one day to tackle the one thing you hate.

Simplify the To-Do List- Simplify the to-dos in your life and you will have more time to get organized.

On the Show Next Week…

Does your closet overwhelm you? What key pieces do you need in your wardrobe to look good? My friend and local fashionista, Kathy Friend, is joining me to share her tips for simplifying our closets. With her guidance, we can simplify our closets easily and make a list of what to look for when doing our thrift shopping or wardrobe shopping. Join us next Thursday (02/12) at 2PM EST for some ideas on Simplifying Your Wardrobe.

Simplifying Our Time In the Kitchen Resource List

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Thank you so much to everyone who was able to catch the show live and chatted with me while I was on the air. Anyone who listened has to agree that Robin Miller was full of such great information for moms. It was really an incredible interview and I hope you can take a half hour to listen to what she shared with us!

As promised, here is today’s resource links and a couple of recipes from Robin Miller!

Getting to Know Your Freezer- Some inspiration and ideas for ways to stock your freezer!

Starbucks Peppermint Mochas- This is my favorite recipe to share and just one reason to stock those ice cubes in your freezer.

Schedule a Day In Your Kitchen- Recipes for items you can make ahead of time on a scheduled day in your kitchen. This is a great way to save cash and eliminate the convenience foods in your diet.

Bulk It Up- Ideas for maximizing that wholesale club membership to the fullest, if you plan to cook in bulk.

Feed the Freezer Cooking Guide

Sneak Up on Freezer Cooking

Freezer FAQ

30 Day Gourmet

Recipezaar’s Freezer Recipes

Books to Check Out:

Robin to the Rescue

Quick Fix Meals

Dream Dinners Cookbook

Frozen Assets

Super Suppers

Don’t Panic- Dinners in the Freezer

Beef Stroganoff

Recipe Courtesy of Robin Miller and Tyson Foods

Recipe serves 4
Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
Time Savings: 30 minutes compared to traditional recipe

Ingredients

8 ounces wide egg-free egg noodles
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 cups sliced fresh cremini or white button mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
1 ½ cups reduced-sodium beef broth
2 packets (6 ounces each) Tyson® Fully Cooked Seasoned Steak Strips
1 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Add thyme (if using) and stir to coat.
4. Add beef broth and steak strips and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes.
5. Stir in cooked egg noodles, sour cream and Dijon mustard. Mix well.
6. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and black pepper. If desired, top with fresh chives just before serving.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Recipe Courtesy of Robin Miller and Tyson Foods

Recipe serves 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Time Savings: 30 minutes compared to traditional recipe

Ingredients

1 pound whole wheat pasta
2 packets (6 ounces each) Tyson® Fully Cooked Grilled Chicken Breast Strips
¾ cup prepared no-salt added tomato sauce (pasta sauce or pizza sauce)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, regular or part-skim
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
Pinch salt and ground black pepper

1. Cook whole wheat pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Arrange chicken breast strips in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over the chicken and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the tomato sauce.
4. In a small bowl, combine the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Mix well and sprinkle the mixture over the mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top of the casserole is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly, and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
6. Divide whole wheat pasta among four individual bowls, spoon casserole mixture over the top and serve.

MomAdvice Simplified: Simplifying Our Time in the Kitchen

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I am very excited to have a very special guest on MomAdvice Simplifed this week. Food Network star, Robin Miller, from Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller is joining me today to share her tips for simplifying our time in the kitchen.

I am so incredibly excited about this interview because I am such a big fan of Robin Miller and her time-saving strategies for making healthy meals without cooking for hours and hours. Robin promotes healthy eating and I so admire what she has done with her background in nutrition. During this interview, Robin is going to share with us some ideas for stocking our freezer, some ideas for easy side dishes that aren’t boring, and ideas for ingredients that you can make ahead so you can spend more time with your children, and less time cooking.

Robin Miller has 18 years of experience as a food writer and nutritionist and is the author of the best-selling cookbook “Quick Fix Meals.” Her popular show, Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller, currently airs on Food Network, and her prime time show, Robin to the Rescue premiered on Food Network in March 2007.

Robin’s recipes and nutrition features can be seen regularly in a variety of magazines, including Clean Eating, Experience Life, Guideposts, Cooking Light, Health, Fit Pregnancy, and Toddler. Robin is also the author of eight books including her latest, Robin to the Rescue.

Robin has been a guest on hundreds of local and national television and radio programs and has hosted home videos (for Jane Fonda), cable television vignettes (for Food Network and a variety of food companies) and spoken at media events in various markets nationwide.

She regularly appears on local, network and cable television, with past appearances including The Early Show (CBS), Regis & Kelly, The View, The Today Show (NBC), Good Morning America(ABC), CNN, ABC Eyewitness News and CBS Evening News.

As a nutrition expert, chef and mother of two, Robin has teamed up with Tyson Foods to give busy families strategies and tips using Tyson® Fully Cooked Chicken and Steak Strips to create faster, lighter and budget-friendly versions of favorite meals.

Just as a reminder, you can listen to the show live every Thursday at 2PM EST or you can listen later right here on my the left sidebar!

I hope you will join me and feel free to chat with me in the chat room or you can even phone in your questions. I think this is going to be an invaluable episode for moms and I am really excited about the information that we are going to share in this half hour.

Cute Jewelry Holder & Jewelry Cleaner Recipes

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

I like to keep a little dish by my sink to put my jewelry in while I am doing the dishes. I also love to thrift shop so I put my love for thrift and my little dish together and came up with this cute little idea.

I use a thrifted candle holder to put my jewels in. They look so pretty and, if the edge has a nice lip on it, it is a safe way to keep your jewels out of harms way. It also makes your jewelry a pretty display while you are scrubbing your little heart out and cursing your family for not helping you… or praying- whatever you happen to do while washing the dishes.

And, if you so choose, you could also be cleaning your jewelry while scrubbing your heart (as you curse your family or pray).

Here are two handy little recipes to keep tucked away for that special day!

Homemade Silver Jewelry Cleaner:

In a bowl, place strips of aluminum foil in and place your silver jewelry on top of them. Cover the silver with boiling water and then add three tablespoons of baking soda and soak for ten minutes. Mix remaining hot water and a drop of liquid soap into another glass bowl. Place your silver in the soapy water and wash. Rinse with clean water and polish dry your pieces with a soft cotton cloth. Please take care, some solutions that are great for some metals and stones may damage others.

(Side Note- I use this solution for cleaning all my silver jewelry and have never had any problems. This works like a dream!)

Homemade Gold Jewelry Cleaner:

Fill a small bowl with warm water and a drop of liquid dish soap. Allow this to soak for approximately ten minutes. Proceed to brush the pieces with an eyebrow brush (or a similar substation such as a toothbrush) while they are being soaked. Then you should transfer the gold jewelry to a strainer and then proceed to rinsing it off with warm water. Finish by drying with a soft cotton cloth.

Spring Cleaning: Organizing The Bookshelves

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Yesterday we spent time organizing our entertainment units and our media. Today we are going to focus on another area common to many family rooms- the bookshelves.

We have two bookshelves in our home and then another bookshelf built-in that resides in our office. I am really good about using our local library though so unless I find a book that I just have to have, I usually limit our book purchases and take advantage of the free service instead.

I worship our library, I would build a shrine to it if I could! I am a big library dork and even subscribe to our libraries blog so I can get the latest information on any books that are coming out or library events. I feel self-confident enough to admit that I am obsessed with my library.

If your home is overrun with books though, there are lots of great sites where you can share and swap books with others. This might be a great way to not add to your collection, but share the collection you already have without buying more.

PaperBack Swap

BookMooch (this site also allows for charitable donations of books to prisoners)

bookins

SwapTree

2Swap

BookCrossing

Frugal Reader

You could also donate these to Goodwill, schools, hospitals, and churches. Call around and see if anyone is interested! If all else fails, check out Freecycle or Craigslist for passing those books on.

Today’s Printable:

Spring Cleaning Your Family Room Day Two

In Case You Missed It (Previous Printables):

Spring Cleaning Introductory Page

Spring Cleaning Recipes

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day One

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Two

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Three

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Four

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Five

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Six (newly updated with cabinet instructions)

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day One

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Two

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Three

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Four

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Five

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Six

Spring Cleaning Your Family Room Day One

Sound Off: Are you a book collector? Do you use any websites for sharing your books or keep a virtual bookshelf anywhere?

Spring Cleaning: Week Three, Day One

Monday, March 24th, 2008

I had hoped to get more printables done, but Easter festivities prevented me from spending a lot of time working (which is a good thing!)

I feel like I have an Easter hangover today- anyone else feel this way? I think my kids are feeling that way too because we had a difficult morning getting around today.

This week we are spending time tidying our family room. These agendas can be applied to whichever room you would like to concentrate on- the playroom, the family room, the living room, or the den. Whatever you call it, you can use these printables for those rooms and whip them back into shape.

Each task is intended to be one hour long only. That is the beauty of doing these agendas- they are meant to help you work more efficiently with your time instead of a marathon day of cleaning or spending your cleaning time researching how to clean your items.

This is what I have planned for us this week:

1. Organize your entertainment and media center
2. Organize your bookcases
3. Clean and organize children’s toys
4. Wash curtains, blinds, swipe baseboards, dust
5. Final tidy- deep clean carpets and vacuum couches & chairs

To save myself some time this week (and resume focus on some other activities on the blog) I will just share pictures at the end of our week and show you what was accomplished, instead of doing daily pictures.

Today’s Printable:

Spring Cleaning Your Family Room Day One

In Case You Missed It (Previous Printables):

Spring Cleaning Introductory Page

Spring Cleaning Recipes

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day One

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Two

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Three

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Four

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Five

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Six (newly updated with cabinet instructions)

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day One

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Two

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Three

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Four

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Five

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Six

Progress Report: Day Four in the Bathroom

Thursday, March 20th, 2008


Today I worked on the finishing touches in our upstairs bathroom. I washed and ironed our shower curtain (a new one because I accidentally got hair color on our old one) and replaced our shower liner with a new one.

I wiped down the bathroom and deep cleaned my floors. The magazines have been recycled and new magazines were added to a basket next to the toilet. I threw in a couple of rolls of toilet paper while I was over in that corner. The bathroom trash was emptied and swiped down. Baseboards were wiped as well as the outside of our cabinet.

Just a few weeks ago, I had put fresh caulk on the tub and that is why I had included it in our activities. It just made my tub looks so new and so fresh- what an economical solution for making something look nice again Right now my vinegar is doing some action on my fixtures- I will pull these off in the morning.

I put out a fresh bar of soap for our guests and I stuck the toothbrush holder in the dishwasher for a deep cleaning. I stuck the toothbrushes in my creamer dish and I actually think they look pretty cute in there. If I don’t get the toothbrush holder as clean as I would like, I might just keep them in that!

Of all the work I did in the bathroom though, the linen closet is my shining glory! I have to hold myself back from opening and standing in front of it for a good five minutes. It has brought me a lot of pleasure to see this area in my home all neat and organized.

I will share pictures from my other bathroom tomorrow! I am really pleased with my progress in our upstairs bathroom. This is my least favorite room in the house because I need to rip out the wallpaper and paint, but at least it can be clean until I can accomplish that home improvement project!

Spring Cleaning: Week Two, Days 4-6

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Here are the next three days of activities for spring cleaning our bathrooms. I have made a lot of progress towards organizing the bathroom and these last three days focus more on the cleaning aspect for this space (which my bathroom desperately needs). This will wrap up our time in the bathroom so we can work on other projects.

I was thinking we could focus on our living room/playroom space after this! Let me know what you think!

Today’s Printables:

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Four

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Five

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Six

In Case You Missed It (Previous Printables):

Spring Cleaning Introductory Page

Spring Cleaning Recipes

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day One

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Two

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Three

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Four

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Five

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Six (newly updated with cabinet instructions)

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day One

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Two

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Three

Progress Report: Day Three in the Bathroom

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008


I have no pictures from my weeding out day because all of the items already got dropped off to Goodwill! Whoohoo! We were able to unload a lot and downsized the amount of items in our bathroom.

I am behind on putting together our printables for these next three days, but I promise to put something up by this evening. I am running a little ragged from a head cold and a day of work for Kenmore yesterday.

They brought their whole team in to their headquarters (in Chicago) and we all had tables set up with things that represented our specialties on advice. I got to share about our spring cleaning challenge and making your own cleaners for your house. People seemed to really love it and I hope we will have lots of new visitors to our site since I handed out over a hundred business cards to the folks that stopped by my table. One hour spring cleaning challenges seemed to appeal to people so I hope we will have lots of new guests to join us in our mission to organize.

Progress Report: Day Two in the Bathroom

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Day two was much easier for me than day one in spring cleaning my bathroom. I am pretty good about keeping our medications up to date, but I did need to gather everything and get it back in one location.

My medications are grouped by types of illness. I started doing this after I had a couple of nights where I was trying to hunt for medicines and was having trouble finding what I needed. Our drawers are labeled for stomach medications, pain relief/prescription medication, and cold/flu medications. I use a three drawer container for these to make things easier to find. This is located in a dark & cool place in my linen closet on a super high shelf!

We also have a “sniffle kit” for when someone in our family comes down with a cold. In the kit is a little container of tissues, cough drops, Vicks vapor rub, nasal spray, and nose suckers (for little ones). The kit is put together in a smaller container for those occasions. I am, in fact, using it as we speak!

Sound Off: Do you have a system for organizing your medications?