Monday, August 29, 2011

Crisis Cleaning Anyone?

Is anyone planning to join me for the Homemaker's "31 Days to Clean" Challenge?

Homemakers Challenge

It kicks off Sept. 1st and I'm am getting myself ready to go!

I have done these sort of challenges and routines in the past (FlyLady anyone?) but I always seem to throw the plan out the window at some point and dive head first into a crazy, binge cleaning, manic episode.  Only to crash an hour later and curl into the fetal position and rock myself back to sanity with a giant tub of rocky road.

I know. I know. Scary.

So this time I thought I'd help curb those urges to binge by doing a day of crisis cleaning a la FlyLady.  I have tried FlyLady a couple of times and I really like her approach.  But if you've been to her website and got completely lost... you are not alone.  I just don't know where to start and it doesn't seem like an easy program to adapt for your lifestyle. 

But her crisis cleaning is so easy.

Basically you clean in 15 minute intervals and move from room to room. 

1st- clean the kitchen for 15 minutes

2nd- When the timer goes off, stop and clean your living room for 15 minutes

3rd- When the timer goes off, go back to the kitchen and clean for 15 more minutes

4th- Stop and take a 15 minute break

And then start up again and shift rooms as needed! 

I have to change mine up a bit and give myself 15 minutes in between each room to tend to the kids pleas for a glass of milk or a potty break or to clean up a spill or whatever. 

But it's the perfect approach  for someone like me who, given more than 15 minutes, would start rearranging the pots and pans!

One HUGE tip from me to you... make sure you set your timer for 15 minutes for EVERYTHING!  That means if you are taking a 15 minute break to check your email... set the timer or you'll never come back!

Try it out and see how it works for you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Time to Clean Up.

Life is crazy.

I'm stuck again. Overwhelmed. Trying to find some sort of balance in providing all the wants and needs of my family.

Lately I feel like I'm lost. Like I've lost control and I've created a mess of things.

I have to get back to some sort of order.

Last week I stumbled across the ebook, 31 Days to Clean- Having a Martha House the Mary Way.

It was only $4.99 to download so I grabbed it (another freebie thanks to my Swagbucks!)

So far I've read the first week and participated in the Mary & Martha challenges at the end of every chapter. The chapters are short, easy reads that take me under 5 minutes to finish. The Mary challenges are simple and get my mind thinking about what & why I want what I do and how to go after it. The Martha challenges are super easy and very straight forward. She breaks down the entire kitchen over a week... one day you clean the outside of your cabinets and the next you clean your oven.

I think this could actually work for me.

On September 1st The Homemaker's Challenge is kicking off a challenge running through the book together.

Homemakers Challenge

And so I'm going to put my neck out on the line and commit to this... publicly!  

Maybe a challenge is just what I need!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Are you an Amazon Mom?

Have you heard of the Amazon Mom program?

I just stumbled upon it today (while shopping for a Jillian Michaels DVD) but it's this really cool, super easy & best of all free program that Amazon has set up for parents!  Like you  & me!

What are the benefits?

How does 30% off diapers & wipes sound?

Pretty good right?

How about 15% off nearly everything else?

Not bad huh?

But I've saved the best for last...

Amazon Moms get free 2 day shipping with Amazon Prime for a 3 months and every time you spend $25 on goodies for your babies you get another month free!!

So go sign up and save yourself some money!

I bought the Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD using my Amazon gift cards from Swag Bucks and thanks to the free shipping I didn't have to pay a penny!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Trial Run: The Cake

Have I told you yet that I'm making all the cakes for my sisters wedding?

Yes I said ALL... as in... more than one...

We saw this picture and fell in love with idea of a cake buffet.

Doesn't that just look yummy?

We thought that it would make things a bit easier to do too.  I mean one great big cake can easily turn into one giant mess with stacking tiers and sagging and whatnot.  Besides, we couldn't decide on one cake!  There are so many choices to make... let's just have them all!

So over the last couple of weeks I've started making some practice cakes to try out recipes and frosting techniques.

Here's my latest.

I'm really happy with the pretty little buttons.  I made each one by hand by pressing some of my favorite vintage buttons into frosting dough.  If you don't know about frosting dough you are missing out.  It's amazing and so simple... just add powdered sugar to your frosting until it turns into a ball of dough.  Then you can work with it just like playdoh!

 The inside is a strawberry flavored gradient.  To make it I just mixed up a box of strawberry cake mix.   I used a 1/2 cup measuring cup and poured 4 scoops (2 cups) into a cake pan.  Then I divided the rest of the batter amongst 4 bowls.  The first bowl got 3 scoops, the second got 2 scoops, the third got 1 scoop and the last got everything that I was able to scrape out of the bowl. 

Then I mixed up a box of yellow cake mix and divided the batter amongst the 4 bowls.  The first bowl got 1 scoop, the second got 2, the third got 3 and the fourth got everything left.  I played with a little bit to make sure they were all pretty even and poured them into the cake pans.

When they were finished baking I leveled and cut each cake in half. I was worried the cake would be too tall and hard to manage.  So in the end I had two pretty cakes!

Oh and if you noticed that the frosting is about to drip off the cake you're absolutely right!  Last night when I mixed it up, I didn't have any real butter.  I knew I would make sure to have it when making the actual wedding cakes but this was just a test cake so I didn't think it would make that big of a difference.  I was dead wrong. It was runny and really hard to work with but my kiddos didn't seem to mind!

But all this practicing and I still haven't decided how to do the cakes for the wedding.  I know I'll start baking and freezing them now but when should I put them together and frost them?  The day before?  The day of?  Have you done something like this before?  Have any pointers for me?

Can you tell I'm a little scared?!

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