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The #1 Cleaning Hack for Tired Moms

The #1 Cleaning Hack for Tired Moms

When I discovered the #1 cleaning hack for tired moms, I had to try it. A messy house raises my stress levels through the roof – especially on top of a wild toddler and breastfeeding baby. Between running a business from home and mothering my two littles, I’m left with just enough energy to get myself showered and into bed. This typically spells disaster for my house.

I first spotted this cleaning hack on Tiktok, where all great mom-ideas come from. This creator’s didn’t stress perfection, and that attracted me to her profile. While a clean house was still necessary – and required to make things liveable – toys still existed and clothes were not always put up. This led me to my first lesson: it’s okay to not be perfect.

While that’s not my cleaning hack, it is something to remember and accept while being a mama. Otherwise, no matter what cool hack or simplified schedule you find, you’ll still get stressed out and overwhelmed because things don’t end up “perfect” like you want.

But now to the good stuff, my #1 cleaning hack for tired mamas:

The #1 Cleaning Hack for Tired Moms

I call the #1 cleaning hack for tired moms interval cleaning. Interval cleaning focuses primarily on one task or one room for a set amount of time. For example, a 15 minute timer as soon as the kids go down for a nap, and you clean what you can in the den. There’s no pressure to clean it all. Just do what you can for 15 minutes, and when you’re done you can decide if you want to do more. 

Additionally, you can choose to do multiple intervals. For example, you can clean for 15 minutes, then 30 minutes watching TV or relaxing, then another 15 minute cleaning. Or, if you’re feeling in the cleaning mood, once you’re done with your 15 minutes, you can set another 15 minutes and try cleaning what you can in another room.

Personally, I like to tackle 15 minutes in the morning before my babies wake up (and after my morning coffee) and 15 minutes after bedtime, when I’m still on the lookout for my sneaky toddler creeping out his bedroom. When my littles somehow manage to nap at the same time, I try to add another 15 minutes of cleaning time in! It’s really helped me stay on top of and manage my household chores.

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How Does it Work With Toddlers?

Sounds like a cool cleaning hack for tired mamas with only one little – or even just a little that actually naps, right? At first, that’s what it was for me too. It wasn’t until I started getting my toddler involved in cleaning with me that it seemed feasible to do everyday. He could tackle the little things like picking up toys or ensuring clothes and bedding landed in the laundry basket. Eventually we were able to introduce sweeping and mopping too.

My toddler might not be a huge fan of our cleaning time, but he powers through it like a champ! Sometimes he likes to throw a little party when we’re done, and if we’ve done a really good job we celebrate with a favorite snack or sweets.

What About Cleaning With Two Kids?

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t think my little cleaning hack was going to survive after baby #2. She was (and still is) a handful to say the least. She doesn’t like to be separated from me, and she really doesn’t like it when we put her down for a nap or to clean. And it’s even rarer for both her and my toddler to be asleep at the same time before bedtime.

Luckily, I was able to get around it by distractions! Mainly, food. My little girl is a foodie through and through. So, I began taking advantage of her snack times and meal times to do our 15 minutes of cleaning. With this, I was able to still have cleaning time and not cut more into my precious after-bedtime me-time that I desperately needed after two kids.

I know that it won’t always go smoothly, and you might need to skip a day. However, the most important thing is to just do the 15 minutes and be done. You don’t need to do more. Once you’re done, you’re done. If you feel like doing more – great. If not, don’t.

How to Get Started With Interval Cleaning

I highly recommend seeing if someone can watch your kids for a day and tackle your house, especially if it’s become a bit of a mess (no shame, mine is too). This will get you started on the right foot. I know we don’t all have access to a village. Even having a friend or babysitter come entertain them while you clean helps out a lot. After a day of cleaning, it’ll be easier to focus during your 15 minutes without becoming overwhelmed with the rest of the house.

Outside of interval cleaning, there are still a few tasks that I take on everyday such as:

  • Dishes, we don’t have a dishwasher so they pile up quickly
  • Laundry, I try to do at least one load per day
  • Sweeping, I have all hardwood floors and a dog – must I say more?
  • My desk, it’s my space and it makes me feel good to clean it off in the morning

What does your cleaning routine look like? Have you tried interval cleaning before? Follow me @everydayshemoms_ for more mom tips & tricks!

Hey Mama! I’m Mckayla, the mama behind Everyday She Moms! I’m a proud mama of two littles while running my own business on the side. With the craziness of learning how to be a mom to my own, I love sharing our adventures and connecting with other mamas in the world!

Check out more tips for developing a cleaning routine!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Balls

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Balls

These no-bake peanut butter oat balls are a favorite snack with our family. They are healthy, easy, filling, and delicious! My kids love them, and my husband appreciates the fact they are gluten free (he’s the only GF member of our household). I made these today, because we need some yummy car snacks for our trip to Ohio tomorrow. Thes will be perfect! This is a good recipe to have your kids join in as well.

No Bake Peanut Butter Oat Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (sub any nut butter you like)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 chocolate chips (I measure with my heart here)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • Optional add ins: coconut, hemp seeds
Ingredients for no bake peanut butter oat balls

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl
  • Mix together (have the kids use their (clean) hands for some extra fun)
  • Chill bowl in the refrigerator for 1 hour
  • After chilling, scoop mix with a spoon and use your hands to roll into a ball (about the size of a golf ball)
  • Enjoy!
  • Store in a closed container in the refrigerator
Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl

There you have it! So easy! I hope your family enjoys these snacks as much as mine does! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Also, share this yummy recipe with your friends. I would love to have you follow me on Instagram, where I share more of our daily life. If you like the chocolate chip and oats combo, you will definitely love these chocolate chip cookies!

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Exciting On-Demand Dance Classes in Your Home

Exciting On-Demand Dance Classes in Your Home

I searched for on-demand dance classes to add to our homeschool routine for quite some time. I wanted something that offered various styles of dance for my children to try, but also I also wanted quality instruction. You cannot imagine how thrilled I was when I found YouDance.com! The Subscription to YouDance.com checks all of my boxes for what I was looking for. And, it’s your lucky day! Keep reading to enter a special giveaway just for you. Lifetime Access to YouDance.com valued at $180!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Learn to Dance Online

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want my kids to have the opportunity to explore new interests without having to drive them all over the place for in person classes. So, when I found this program, I was hooked. YouDance.com was started by a homeschooling mom. It is a safe place for kids to learn all types of dance, including ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and even clogging. Furthermore, there are no ads or any way to click into something we don’t want our kids having access to (unlike YouTube). My children are beginners, but there are multiple skill levels to choose from.

Get your FREE trial to YouDance.com today!

How Does it Work?

My first grader chose ballet, and my third grader chose jazz. I really appreciate how just one subscription to YouDance.com gives you full access to every type of dance on the platform. Each lesson includes short instructional videos on various aspects of that style of dance. The videos are shot from behind the instructor, who is looking in the mirror. This mimics in person classes, as well as makes it easier for my kids to follow the foot work. Additionally, each lesson includes a short quiz. The quiz covers the information taught in the lesson. I appreciate this, because it helps me to gauge how much my child is paying attention.

This online dance class mimics the perspective of being in a dance studio by watching the instructor from behind while facing a mirror.
All of the novice ballet lessons take place at the barre. Kids can use any sturdy surface in your home for balance.

However, I want to give a slight heads up if you have young children. You might need to do the quiz with your child. A couple of questions were a little mature. For example, when asking about the ballet barre, one of the answer choices mentioned a bar you would go to get drinks. Additionally, the history of jazz video spoke about how jazz originated with enslaved people in America. I love that the lesson taught this full and true history, but I was also glad I was there because my child had additional questions. All in all, I think these things are minor, and they don’t hinder how comfortable I feel using the program.

YouDance.com instructional jazz video is being viewed on a laptop.
My children like to watch the videos first before practicing.

The Benefits of On-Demand Dance Classes for Homeschoolers

The benefits to on-demand dance classes speak for themselves.

  • Explore new interests
  • Gross motor activities all year around, regardless of weather
  • Meet P.E. requirements for homeschooling
  • Ability to set your own pace and schedule
  • No need to be a chauffeur to weekly classes across town
  • Exposure to various types of music
  • Build confidence and self esteem

The YouDance.com Subscription hits all the marks, and I really love that we all have the opportunity to explore so many styles of dance under the umbrella of one product. And I have to say, it has been really nice being able to work on one-on-one teaching with one child, while another child learns a new dance completely independently.

There are even videos meant for exercise available, which is my favorite way to workout (anyone else remember the Zumba craze from ten years ago?) It’s not often you find a homeschool product that also has something for mom, but YouDance.com once again comes through. It warms my heart to think how Courtney, the founder and creator, thought of us when making this program. Check out YouDance.com today, and I can’t wait to hear what you think. Make sure to like and share this post with your friends!

Are you ready for the AWESOME giveaway? Enter below!

 

Prepping When You’re Not a Prepper

Prepping When You’re Not a Prepper

I am not a prepper. Do you know the term? The dictionary defines prepper as a person who believes a disaster or emergency will occur in the future and makes active preparations for it. Preppers typically stockpile food and other supplies. I am the opposite of this. I clean my refrigerator and pantry out often, I usually don’t cook enough to have leftovers, and I don’t buy clothes on sale the season before. Furthermore, if I’m not doing those basic things, I for sure don’t have some underground bunker in my backyard full of supplies (nor do I want to be this person) Me, not a prepper.

What Changed?

While I don’t fear a world disaster, I am an 80’s baby and have seen my fair share of them. Also, I am a planner and a realist. Planning for possibilities gives me a sense of control when the world feels out of control. With war raging across the globe, supply chain disruptions, a seemingly unending pandemic, and inflation closing in around us, I realize there is a time and a place to prepare a safety net for your family. This will look different for every family.

Remember the Great Toilet Papergate of 2020? Back then, I had the mindset of, “This is crazy. I am not participating in this.” That thinking was all well and good until my family actually ran out of toilet paper. I wasn’t able to buy more anywhere! Thank goodness a friend gave us a few rolls to tide us over. So, you know, lesson learned. It’s better to be prepared, even if the probability of needing said supplies is small.

This made me laugh more than it should have.

Starting Small

I am focusing my prepping and stockpiling with food. The weekly grocery budget is where we already see price increases. Also, I know there have been multiple times where my grocery store has been completely out of an item I need. My personal opinion is that things will get worse before better (but take heart, they WILL get better). So, I am starting small and simple. When I do my grocery shopping each week, I am going to get a few extra items for the purposes of storing them for a rainy day.

Here is my first haul of extra groceries.

All of the food in the picture above costed less than $15. Kroger had a sale that week of BOGO roasts, so the two in the photo were free! These items are going in to my pantry and freezer, and I will save them in case our finances become stretched or store shelves become more sparse. Furthermore, these things will come in super handy if I am having a day where we just need a quick and easy dinner. I don’t plan to purchase this many extra groceries every time I go to the store. However, little by little, it will all add up.

How Can You Start?

So, how should you start preparing a safety net if you’re also not a prepper? This will be different for every person and family. The question you need to ask yourself is what resource are you most concerned about? For me, it is groceries and finances, which are linked in my mind. Inflation and rising gas prices mean our dollars won’t stretch as far as they used to. There will be an adjustment period for this, and I have peace of mind knowing I have a stocked pantry and freezer if my dollars need to be allocated to somewhere else.

Additionally, I learned you can easily go deep down the rabbit hole with this topic. The motivating factors leading someone to begin stockpiling supples are all over the map and can be (in my opinion) quite far fetched. However, I believe there is value in storing extra supplies if it bring you peace of mind. Maybe you feel the need to prep and be prepared for something else. I would love to know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends. Also, check me out on Instagram, where I share more of our daily life.

Self Paced ASL Classes for Your Homeschool

Self Paced ASL Classes for Your Homeschool

Discovering Mr. D Math’s ASL: Elementary 1 was like finding a treasure chest for our homeschool. Mr. D Math offers a variety of classes, and we enrolled in the self paced ASL (American Sign Language) option. We decided this year that ASL would be our long term foreign language study for our homeschool. I learned a few basic signs as a child, and I knew some baby signs as well. However, my children came into our study knowing nothing.

Because I came into our ASL study with such limited knowledge, I had no idea where to begin. We tried to find YouTube videos. But there are so many that I didn’t know where to begin, much less make an impactful linear study of the language. When I was introduced to Mr. D Math and the self paced ASL class, I knew I found what we needed to ensure a proper, respectful, and comprehensive study of American Sign Language.

Bring world class teacher into your home!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

The High Quality of Mr. D Math’s ASL Elementary

Mr. D Math is an online platform offering a variety of live and self paced classes for every age. We chose Mr. D Math Elementary ASL 1, which is a self paced ASL class. To be completely transparent, I have been hesitant to use any online classes in our homeschool. I felt like if we were going to do home education, then I needed to be teaching only out of hard copy books at all times. Friend, don’t box yourself in like that. As soon as we started learning ASL, I knew I needed a curriculum with actual teachers who were more knowledgeable than me. I needed someone to come along side me to teach my children, and Mr. D Math does just that.

This image shows two children engaged in an online ASL lesson. One child is shoeing the sign for letter P.
Each lesson is straight forward and highly engaging for my children. They love ASL days!

Mr. D Math Elementary ASL 1 includes 32 lessons, which is a great amount for a full school year. Our teacher, Thia S., graduated from Gallaudet University, which is the only Deaf college in the world. It is so important to have qualified instructors when learning ASL. The deaf and hard of hearing community feels very strongly about this, and I am so glad Mr. D Math respects and supports that. I also really appreciate how I have the option to message our teacher if needed.

The Ease of Self Paced ASL Classes

One of my most favorite things about homeschooling is the individuality you can infuse into every part of education. Like I mentioned before, I had been hesitant to add an online curriculum to our schooling. Part of that hesitation was rooted in the fact that I didn’t want the pressure of being on someone else’s schedule. Let me tell you, the self paced ASL class has eased all of my fears.

Each lesson includes a video where our teacher introduces new signs. She is so fun and engaging. Furthermore, she encourages children to turn off their voices and practice their signs in daily life. My seven year old especially loves doing this! There are review worksheets and coloring pages, as well as a short review quiz for all 32 lessons. The course is well tracked through the online portal as well. It keeps track of our progress (I am learning too!) and quiz grades automatically. We usually do two to three lessons per week, but you can go as fast or as slow as your children need to.

This image shows two elementary aged children coloring their review worksheet from their ASL lesson.
Birthday sign review coloring pages were definitely a hit!

Is Mr. D Math Elementary ASL 1 Class Worth It?

I absolutely believe this self paced ASL class is worth it. If you are looking for a quality curriculum to fill any possible gaps in your homeschool, Mr. D Math is a great place to start your search. You can really tell this company wants to empower home educators. There is even a podcast by founder Dennis DiNoia. Additionally, for the price of $197 per self paced course, you get so much. Before I was introduced to Dr. D Math, I was scrounging YouTube for our ASL lessons. I didn’t always know the credentials of the person making the video, and there was no route to achieve our long term goals of becoming proficient in ASL. I fully intend to stay with Mr. D Math ASL classes until we progress beyond them. Check out Mr. D Math today and let me know what you think!

Social Emotional Learning with HeyKiddo

Social Emotional Learning with HeyKiddo

Social emotional learning is a framework that helps students to better understand their emotions, to experience those emotions fully, and extend empathy for others. Learning about feelings and how they effect relationships is vital for children to develop into well rounded healthy teenagers and adults.

As I’ve shared before, I have two children with ADHD. Did you know emotional regulation is an extra challenge for neurodivergent children? Because of this, we spend a LOT of time discussing feelings in our family. Additionally, I really believe spending concentrated time learning these skills when children are young results in positive outcomes as they grow. It only made sense to incorporate social emotional learning into our homeschool. This is why I was so excited to discover HeyKiddo Huddle by HeyKiddo.

Built for busy homeschooling parents (you, mama) by expert psychologists and educators, this digital curriculum fits seamlessly into your existing homeschool rhythm and routine, all the while helping to build skills like self-awareness, mindfulness, positive mindset, empathy, critical thinking, resilience and so much more. Read on to the end for a chance to win a one year subscription!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Social Emotional Learning Starts with Family

We take family and sibling relationships very seriously in our home. Because I am an only child, I know how precious it is to have siblings by your side. We tell our kids that their siblings are their forever best friends. Deep relational bonds only occur if a person has had appropriate social emotional education.

Desiring our children to mature in their social emotional skills is one thing, yet knowing how best to teach these skills can be another. This is where HeyKiddo Huddle steps in. HeyKiddo, with the backing of the National Science Foundation, comes along side you with a weekly curriculum to teach important skills such as self awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making, and SO MUCH MORE. They say it takes a village. Why not take the opportunity to fill ours with expert psychologists and educators?

Sign Up Today!!

How Does HeyKiddo Huddle Work?

HeyKiddo Huddle is comprehensive social-emotional curriculum for homeschooling parents that spans 36 weeks. Everything you need to teach each lesson is located in your online portal. Additionally, you receive weekly emails with that link to all the materials you need. Your portal also houses a progress tracker for each child, as well as additional resources. The portal is incredibly simple and easy to navigate.

Your portal houses everything you need for each lesson.

Lessons, or huddles, take about 15 minutes each day, or you can dedicate one hour once a week. I really appreciate when curriculums are not extremely time intensive. For each lesson, you come together for a huddle (how cute is this concept?!) and discuss one question per day. The discussion questions are designed to integrate critical thinking skills into daily learning. One of my favorites is, “If you were a color, which would you be and why?”. Furthermore, an activity or craft is associated with each week’s focus. Parents are responsible for gathering the materials for these activities, but they are simple things like colored paper, scissors, etc..

I really appreciate the Educator Responses section of each discussion question.

Here is Your Chance to Win!

Enter to Win!

I have thoroughly enjoyed digging into this curriculum with my children. In the beginning, it felt a little awkward having these conversations, but we quickly found our groove. Better yet, the kids have so much fun during our huddles. I think it does a wonderful job filling in the gaps we, as parents, sometimes have when teaching our children about emotions and introspection.

Huddles are simple, but they are so impactful!

The only thing I would adjust in this program is allowing total access to all the lessons up front. You have the full 36 week curriculum outline in your portal, but it only gives you the topics. My type A planner self would have liked to be able to view all the lessons I wanted, so I could customize our journey through the program more. However, that is such a minor thing (can you tell I sometimes live in the details, ha!), and I really do love HeyKiddo Huddle for social emotional learning. I can already tell a difference in my children’s emotional awareness with using this curriculum. Check them out today! As always, I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Is Homeschool Science Lab Even Possible? Yes!

Is Homeschool Science Lab Even Possible? Yes!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time for this post. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Science lab might be one of the most intimidating subjects to teach for a homeschool mom. Unless you were homeschooled yourself, your experience with science labs is the classroom model. How are you supposed to replicate that at home? The thought of all the equipment alone is enough to make you throw up your hands in defeat. And oh, the mess! I am not the “let’s get messy all over the kitchen” type of mom (and that is okay!).

Have no fear, friend. I am thrilled to introduce you to College Prep Science by Greg Landry. Greg is a former college professor and homeschool dad who has a deep love for science. He created College Prep Science to meet homeschool learners where they’re at and instill a love for science. A key feature of this platform is its virtual homeschool science lab. Also, stay tuned because I have a list full of freebies for you to take advantage of.

Middle and High School Science Labs

Even though my kids are still in elementary school, I get asked quite often how will I teach the upper grades. Some times I wonder myself! However, I am so glad that I now have this resource in my back pocket. College Prep Science offers a virtual homeschool science lab for biology/anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and physics. I really like how all of your middle and high schooler’s science labs can be done on one platform. Once your student learns how the virtual lab operates, they can then concentrate on the material at hand. Greg Landry also teaches note taking skills, which is very important if your student has higher education goals.

Your student will learn note taking along with other key skills.

How the Homeschool Science Lab Works

There are two ways to participate in this homeschool science lab. The first option is to enroll in a one week intensive taught by Greg Landry. This is a live 20-30 minute class where your student will complete a total of ten experiments. I love that the courses include so many experiments! Some state have requirements on what counts as a science lab class, and this intensive exceeds the typical requirement of six experiments. There are no prerequisites either, so you have flexibility as to when you want to complete the course based on your own homeschool calendar.

This is the virtual lab.
Everything you need for you lab is just a click away.

If the live intensive isn’t for you, your student has the option to enroll in a self-paced nine month family subscription. As a parent of two neurodivergent children, I love this option. If you know, you know. Our neurodivergent kids work at their own pace. So, it is a huge plus for me that there is this type of variability.

You, of course, have access to all the same subjects as if you were in the live intensive. However, instead of live classes, students will watch a video by Greg Landry, then head to the homeschool science lab and complete each experiment. Parents do not need to purchase any equipment. None, as in no mess! Just print the provided notes and you’re all set to begin the course. Furthermore, both of these options include information for transcripts.

My Final Thoughts

I think one of the hardest things about being a new(ish) homeschooling family is the overwhelm of all the resources available. It is maddening to sort through. Using tools created by people who are passionate about their products is really important to me. I think College Prep Science is a great option if you are looking for a no mess, user friendly, and highly educational homeschool science lab. And, Greg Landry is so passionate about equipping homeschooling families with great science education, that he has provided these freebies for you to take advantage of. I hope you enjoy them!

Mrs. Field’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mrs. Field’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know if these are actual Mrs. Field’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or not. My guess is they were probably some kind of dupe from the nineties. But my family has been making this cookies for as long as I can remember, and we always call them Mrs. Fields cookies. So, thank you Mrs. Fields for giving me my most favorite cookies that I now get to share with my family. We enjoy eating these cookies during our homeschool tea time.

Freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Mrs. Fields Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4oz milk chocolate chips

First, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Next, combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until ingredients are fully combined. Finally add as many chocolate chips as your heart desires. Spoon golf ball size cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.

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This recipe makes a lot. I like to flash freeze golf ball sized servings of cookie dough to keep in the freezer. To do this, spoon cookie dough on to a cookie sheet,. Next, place cookie sheet in the freezer for 1 hour. Store cookie dough balls in a gallon zip-loc bag, and bake whenever you feel the desire for fresh Mrs. Field’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Always Be Prepared for an Easy Last Minute Dinner

Always Be Prepared for an Easy Last Minute Dinner

It is inevitable that at some point we will need an easy last minute dinner. Even if you have mastered the art of menu planning, life happens. When I became a stay at home mom, almost a decade ago, I had aspirations of preparing a beautiful dinner from scratch every night. Ha! Friend, that is not real life. We get tired, forget something at the grocery store, we lose track of time playing with the kids. Sometimes we simply don’t want to cook. All of these are valid reasons for needing a plan B for an easy last minute dinner.

Pantry Staples

Having a stocked pantry makes throwing dinner together really pretty easy. For the record, I view a successful meal as one that includes the main macronutrients of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Also, my picky children have to actually eat the meal for it to be successful. Here is a list of things I always have on hand:

  • brown rice
  • lentil or chickpea pasta
  • instant macaroni and cheese
  • cereal
  • oatmeal
  • jarred marinara sauce
  • eggs
  • cheese
  • ranch dressing
  • hummus
  • frozen chicken nuggets
  • frozen fish sticks
  • frozen salmon filets
  • frozen vegetables (broccoli, peas, whatever you like)

As you can see, cooking with these pantry staples would create a an easy dinner without much forethought. There is nothing wrong with the occasional cereal night with a side of fruit. Or instant mac and cheese with chicken nuggets. I mean, those are probably already your kids’ favorite meals!

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Freezer Meals

Another way to be prepared for last minute dinners is to utilize freezer meals. This take more forethought and planning, but that effort has a big return. If your time and budget allows, I would really encourage you to take a Saturday and prepare several meals to immediately freeze. Here is a great list of 51 freezer meals from Imperfectly Happy Home. If stocking the freezer all at once doesn’t work for your family, that’s ok! You can still double recipes and freeze left overs. I tend to keep spaghetti sauce, shepherd’s pie, left over soups, and things like that ready to go in my freezer. I really like using these disposable containers to freeze meals in. They are individual serving size, which prompts me to save even just a lunch portion.

Snack Dinners

Finally, I have saved the best for last. Yes, the art of snack dinners. This is probably my favorite easy last minute dinner idea because it involves zero cooking. And let’s face it, we all have nights when we loathe the idea of cooking. Go to your kids’ snack shelf and start unwrapping. There is no shame, mama. I fully believe you have the snacks available to make a well rounded dinner for your child. A snack dinner for my kids usually looks like this: a Larabar, whatever fruit we have, carrots with hummus, and some sort of chip or cracker. Boom. Done. Additionally, if you use paper plates, then you actually have zero clean up. It’s literally the best on nights when you just can’t.

Having the expectation that we will always be able to cook from scratch is unrealistic and sets us up for failure. Some days we are extra tired, sick, or maybe we are busy with extracurricular activities. Whatever it is, we don’t have to be caught off guard. Being prepared for the unexpected saves our sanity as well as our budget (take out is expensive!). What are some methods you have used to throw together dinner? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to subscribe and share with your friends!

Developing a Cleaning Routine You’ll Actually Stick To

Developing a Cleaning Routine You’ll Actually Stick To

Developing a cleaning routine is one of those things that homemakers are supposed innately know how to do. Am I right? But what if you hate cleaning? I think people either get the cleaning gene or the cooking gene, but it’s never both. One is always so much harder than the other. If you’re like me, then that’s cleaning. So, here are my best and most practical tips on developing a cleaning routine that works.

Clarify Your Expectations

First, you need to set appropriate expectations. What does a clean home mean to you? Tidiness is different from person to person and from parenting season to parenting season. I have more of an expectation of myself and my children now that everyone is out of the baby and toddler stages. However, my expectations are not equal to a family who has teenagers. My children are very much in the toy years. There are toys actively being played with all over my house at all times. There is currently a pretend golf course in our playroom.

I don’t expect my floors to be perfectly picked up every single day. If I did, then I would be correcting and scolding my children constantly. No one wants that! Instead, I have my kids do a big clean up of all their toys once a week. Otherwise, I just ask them to clean up toys in the common rooms. The toy years is a season of childhood, and that is where we are at right now. I do, however, have a schedule that focuses on deep cleaning one room per day that I try to stick to. But, I give myself grace when I inevitably don’t get to it all every day.

How Much Time Do You Want to Devote to Cleaning?

The second thing you need to consider when developing a cleaning routine is how much time you can reasonably and sanely devote to cleaning. Reasonably and sanely are key words here. Years and years ago when I was home with a new baby and a toddler, we had to have a plumber come to the house because we had a leaking pipe. I would *always* tidy up before anyone would come over. He unexpectedly had to go into my closet to access the shower. I hadn’t tidied my room, much less my closet. I was mortified, and I apologized several times. He turned to me and said, “It’s okay. I use my house too.” Friend! Let me tell you. That plumber set me free.

I love the idea of a perfectly clean home, but that is not practical when I am home all day with my children. We use our home. And what a blessing that is! What works for us is doing a pick up after breakfast before starting school. We do another pick up before rest time, as the school day is coming to a close. Lastly, I do a pick up of the living room (usually it’s just the kid’s cups and maybe a random dinosaur or two) at the end of the day after the children have gone to bed. Additionally, as I mentioned above, I try to do a deeper clean of one room each day. This works for us in the season we are in.

Get the Kids Involved

Finally, developing a cleaning routine became a lot easier when my kids were able to effectively participate. My seven and nine year olds have chores they must complete before we start school. These include things like unloading the dishwasher, giving food and water to the pets, getting themselves ready for the day, clearing breakfast dishes, and so on. Check out my chore chart I use! My kids love checking off their chores each day.

Because my four year old falls under the neurodivergent umbrella, he is working on other skills during morning chore time. However, when it is appropriate, he will have his own checklist each day as well. He is my little laundry helper, though. Here is a good post sharing ideas for kid chores based on ages. You can find chore ideas for kids all over the internet. Don’t feel overwhelmed by these (beware the comparison game!). These are all just ideas. Pick and choose what works for you and your family.

I want to know! Do you have a cleaning routine? Share in the comments below to give others ideas and inspiration. If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and sign up for my email list on the side bar so you don’t miss anything going on with Intentionally Well.