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.
Mrs. Fields Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
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.
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.
What’s one of the biggest lies culture tells homemakers? Developing a cleaning routine is simple and easy to stick to. Am I right? But what if you hate cleaning? I got you. Here are 3 simple hacks to designing a system that works for you and your family.
From my extensive research, (read: asking all the women I know which they like better, cooking or cleaning?) people either get the cleaning gene or the cooking gene, but it’s never both. Never, not once have I met someone who enjoys both.
Do you? Most likely not. (If you are the magical unicorn who enjoys both, please tell me you secret magical ways.) 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 for developing a cleaning routine that works.
#1. Clarify Your Expectations
First, you need to set appropriate expectations. What does a clean home mean to you? Is it consistently mopped floors, floors cleared of clutter/toys, or floors being clear chunks of yesterday’s breakfast? You do you. This is your home, no one else’s.
Tidiness is different from person to person and from parenting season to parenting season. I expect more of myself (and children) now that everyone is out of the baby and toddler stages. However, my expectations are not equal to a family that has teenagers. My kids are very much in the toy years. It’s unrealistic of me to expect all toys to be put away at the end of every day, because toys are life right now. I mean, there’s currently a pretend golf course in the playroom.
So, I don’t expect the toys 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, we do a big clean-up once a week. This works for us. The toy years are a season of childhood, and that is where we are at right now.
#2. Decide How Much Time Do You Want to Devote to Cleaning?
The second thing to consider when developing a cleaning routine is how much time you can reasonably and sanely devote to cleaning. Quick story time: When I was home with a new baby and a toddler, a plumber came out to our house to do some work. I *always* tidied up before anyone would come over.
Well, he unexpectedly had to go into my closet to access the shower. I hadn’t tidied my room, much less my closet! I quick ran in there to make sure, you know, there wasn’t a bra on the floor or something. I was mortified! I kept apologizing for the mess. Then this sweet old man turned to me and said, “It’s okay. I use my house too.” Friend! Let me tell you. That plumber set me free!!
We use our home. And what a blessing that is! And I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning. What works for us is doing a quick pick-up after breakfast before starting our homeschool. 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 kids have gone to bed.
Now, I do deep clean one room a day. But only if time and energy allows. I don’t stress if I don’t get to it.
#3 Get the Kids Involved
Finally, developing a cleaning routine became a lot easier when my kids were able to effectively participate. My elementary aged kids have morning chores. 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 the chore chart I use! My kids love checking off their chores each day.
Here is a good post sharing ideas for kid chores based on age. 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 to be the first to know what’s happening here!
I created zones for my kids and myself in our home. I felt like there was zero order to my home. Do you ever feel like that? Like there are people and things all over your house all the time? This is so common, especially when you have kids. It is especially so when you are homeschooling, because you are using your house each and every day. Toys migrate from the play room to the living room to the bedroom to even the bath tub. By the end of summer, I’d had enough of this mess, literally and figuratively.
What Do I Mean?
What do I mean by zones? I forget where I first heard of turning your space into zones, but I was reminded of the idea by Erin from Cotton Stem. The idea of creating zones means using your space intentionally to provide a change of scenery, spark creativity, or just a place to go that has a purpose. For example, that random corner in your kitchen that’s kind of dead space – let’s turn it into something useful!
Book Nook Zone
made a little book corner in her kids’ bedroom. I thought, “Wow, I can do that!”. And I did. I went around my house and grabbed my son’s Anywhere Chair, a cozy blanket my kids love, an extra end table we randomly had, the basket of books which was not getting read in our playroom, and voila! We had our own reading corner in the upstairs loft. We named it the Book Nook, and it is now where my big kids do their independent reading each day. They LOVE it, and they are actually reading the forgotten books that were formerly in the playroom.
Bonus School Space Zone
With the success of the Book Nook, I looked for other ways to implement more zones. We have a large loft area upstairs, and it wasn’t being utilized well. The book nook was in one corner of the room, but I saw the opportunity to make the loft even more purposeful. I moved a desk that was in my daughter’s room (it was only storing doll clothes) to the loft. I added a lamp and a globe to the desk. BOOM! Now we have a zone for school work other than our homeschool room. We use this when someone needs to move to a quiet space. Because the kids take online piano lessons, I moved our keyboard to the same wall as the desk to be included in the school zone.
TV and Video Game Zone
I positioned the TV and Nugget couch to the next area in the loft to create a “lounging zone”. The TV cabinet also stores our LEGOs, so these are out of the kid’s bedrooms. This little TV zone get a lot of use on the weekends when my kids watch more shows and enjoy playing the Wii. It’s a small area. It’s literally just the Nugget and the TV, but the special thing about creating zones is you don’t have to have a lot of space to make something special.
Gross Motor Zone
Finally, the last zone I created in our loft is the “gross motor” zone. This is the biggest zone. I have a toddler trampoline in a corner and a sensory swing to hang from the ceiling. The Nugget Couch can easily be pulled over to make an obstacle course, slide, or whatever the kids want to create. Lastly, I added the little toddler slide from the backyard. I wanted an area where kids could play rough and get their wiggles out. We live in the Midwest, and it will soon be too cold to play outside. Having this play space is essential, and it’s already being used.
Now It’s Your Turn
I know not everyone has a large unused loft in their home. However, the idea behind creating zones is using the little corners and nooks you do have. Turn them into a special place for your kids to go. Maybe it’s setting aside the end of your kitchen table and leaving out crafting supplies, or trays and tubs of playdough that the kids can access on their own. Maybe it’s taking that kids table that isn’t really getting used anymore and turning it into a board game table. Maybe you need a “mom zone” to keep your calendar, file mail, and meal plan. I created my “mom zone” in our kitchen. It is so nice to have all my things in one place. Assess what’s not working or take a space that isn’t being used efficiently, then let your imagination flourish. Take a look around and share what you come up with!
Below are a few links to some things that we have in our zones, but don’t feel like you have to buy a bunch of stuff. Shop your house first, then see where you need to fill in the blanks.
Indoor Sensory Swing:
Cozy chair for your own Book Nook:
Intentionallywell.org is a place to find present intentionality in every day life. I hope you find grace and encouragement here to live on purpose with purpose.