As a mother of two children, I spend my time picking up after them, along with my husband , 2 lovely dogs, and cat sidekicks. Clearly, this means I am more than qualified to write about cleaning as it seems to be a never-ending journey. “The Kitchen Sink” is my way of sharing tips and tricks I am learning along the way.
December 16th, 2020
Normally, the holidays are such a joyous time where we gather with our loved ones from far and wide. Where we spend time in the kitchen and enjoy our favorite comfort foods. Unfortunately, 2020 has done a number on us all. No matter how you feel about Covid-19.l It is here and it is keeping our Nurses, Doctors, & Hospitals busy. My stepmother is a nurse, so my worries are different. No soapbox from me, I just ask that before you make your plans for the holidays you think about how tired and broken, they are right now. Say a prayer and send them some love.
My biggest advice right now is not about cleaning! Just like Santa, I love a good list! I make and maintain a list of what to buy and who to buy for starting in August. I also make a list of things to craft and things to bake and this helps keep me on track. This is the most important tip, make sure you note where you hide the presents. I cannot tell you how many presents I have found after Christmas. While it is always a good laugh when you show up a month later with a Christmas gift, it can be avoided by making a note on your list.
Another great tip I learned from a friend is to use one Santa paper for Santa only, another for gifts for friends and family outside of the house. That way you know just by looking at it without reading the tag. Don’t forget to save those gift bags. Are you frugal if you recycle the gift bags? Personally, I think it makes you smart, some may say cheap, but I still say smart. I have a whole bag of bags. You never know when you will need a gift bag. I also keep a box of cards for the same reason, I never want anyone to think I forgot about them but with kids sometimes things slip your mind. Have them at the ready is a nice way to make sure everyone always feels the love.
With this year being so hard on Oklahoma I wanted to remind everyone that Hard Candy Christmas’s can be some of the most magical and wonderful Christmas’s for Children. A little bit of Christmas Magic goes a long way with children. Oklahoma Communities are doing evening parades, (just saying masks are a BIG perk right now because they will keep your face warm) driving around looking at the lights, Selfies with Santa, baking cookies, making homemade gifts for friends and family, a little can go a long way.
As we say goodbye to 2020, I would like to say how thankful I am for all the lessons I have learned from my fellow Oklahomans this year. How moving it has been to watch communities pull together to keep family businesses up and running, to see love with its work boots and kindness in action. Most of all as this year ends, I want to say Thank you to everyone who reads my article and a special Thank you to Oklahoma’s Choice for letting me be part of their family and there is nowhere I would rather be!
November 18th, 2020
With Covid-19 numbers on the rise, this year’s Thanksgiving will be like none before. In Oklahoma Thanksgiving is a time for family, to connect with those we don’t see every day. Most important for my family it is about the food. Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving foods, for my husband, it is about the turkey and pie. For my sister it is about the green bean casserole, the kids are always about the rolls and desserts. After a long debate, my family agreed to a virtual Thanksgiving.
I think the most important step would be to pick a method for video chatting. There are a bunch of different services depending on your phone/tablet, internet provider. My family uses Facebook messenger just because everyone has Facebook and it is pretty easy to use. But don’t forget about Skype, Zoom, google Duo, Alexa portal. There is something out there for every skill set. I would put the most tech savvy person in charge of this aspect of your Virtual Thanksgiving.
I have heard from my friends they are enjoying visiting their families, but you can only talk about so much before they are over it and ready to do something different. I thought I would share some ideas for hosting a virtual event. Like all good parties having a plan for the day what everyone wants to do together will make everything run smoother. Get with your family and make a schedule together, not everyone will be able to be online all day. So having a schedule and a plan that works for everyone. Example plan 9am- 11am as Grandma’s cooking lesson.
Get in the kitchen together and have a cooking class. Watch grandma make her famous stuffing then someone else can teach the group to make another favorite. Being apart doesn’t have to mean you can’t still get that wonderful kitchen time together. So, gather around in your separate kitchens, teach and catch up with your family.
Games! Plan a few games to play together. Bingo, Pictionary, Virtual scavenger hunt. There are too many games that can be played virtually. I can’t even name them all. Watch the parade, football, or movies together. Anything that gets your family participating together and having fun together is the whole point of thanksgiving.
In a time where so many people, families are divided, Thanksgiving is a chance to reconnect. A chance to move forward in harmony and pie. Love your people.
September 19th, 2020
It’s Fall Y’all!!!
While fall technically doesn’t start until September 22nd, Oklahoma’s weather has a mind of its own. Who doesn’t love fall? All the yummy smells, football, and my favorite soups!
With summer leaving us it is time to pack away summer things for next year. Camping supplies, summer toys, and summer clothes. It can feel overwhelming. If you followed my summer article you will know exactly what I am going to say. After our last camping trip, I restocked my camping tote. Which means I am already done. I like to pack all the summer toys in a tote, making sure it is clearly marked. If you can’t find it next summer you will have to rebuy things and that gets expensive fast. For summer clothes, I have a tote for each of my family members filled with winter/summer. Swap them out when the season changes.
Oklahoma is Football country. I have spent four years at the football field with my Daughter Cheering. I have learned how to keep a cheer bag organized and smelling good. We keep everything under the sun in those bags, you never know when you will need hairspray. I separated all hair items into a zip lock bag, makeup into a bag. This keeps things from spilling out and leaking everywhere. My next tip will work with any smelly shoes. I buy large black tea bags and keep them in their shoes when they aren’t in use. It is an inexpensive, no-mess way to help keep smells at bay.
Right now is the perfect time to do a mini deep clean. I like to do the common areas of my house right now. Kitchen, clean out the cabinets, and donate anything I didn’t use as much as I thought I would, rearrange to make room for new. I also rearrange my living room and dining room in the fall because I am already thinking about Thanksgiving and where am I going to put my Christmas tree.
I would also like to take this moment to remind you all to have your heating and air, fireplaces serviced while the weather is mild. It will save you later.
August 19th 2020
The Kitchen Sink Back to School
August means back to school for most families in Oklahoma. Even with Covid-19, this year is no different. I want to be clear on where I stand on this important topic – whether you are choosing to homeschool, sending your children back to school or online school, I know these are hard choices and I want to say good for you. Everyone is doing what they feel is right and difficult choices are being made all around. So, support your friend’s and family’s school choices.
My first tip is how to keep track of masks, kids loose them quickly. The answer? Lanyards. I attached my son’s reusable mask to a breakaway lanyard. I plan on getting one for each day of the week. This ensures he will have a clean mask each day. You can also attach a hand sanitizer to the lanyard depending on your child’s age.
I have heard from a few parents that they worry about how to sanitize backpacks, library books, and car seats. For car seats and backpacks I would recommend investing in a spray bottle and 70 proof rubbing alcohol and spray down your car and car seats when you get out. I would spray the backpacks and leave them on the porch for 30 mins or so. As for library books DO NOT spray them with anything, you could damage them. You can wipe the covers down with Lysol, but the schools and public libraries have a system in place to sanitize them.
I do not know about your family, but my kids are stain magnets. I am a big fan of Oxi clean, I like to add a scoop in every wash. With the children, I like to spray their clothes before I put their laundry in the basket, by the time I get their laundry washed it has sat long enough that the stain comes right out.
I know this is a particularly stressful time for us all, so please remember the only thing we should be spreading right now is Kindness.
July 22nd 2020
As a mother of two children, I spend most of my time picking up after them, along with my husband, father-in-law, and 4 lovely dogs and cat sidekicks. Clearly, this means I am more than qualified to write about cleaning as it seems to be a never-ending journey. “The Kitchen Sink” is my way of sharing tips and tricks I am learning along the way.
With COVID-19 lots of families are staying home more. That is ok, we are too. It is hard to keep children busy day to day without the normal summer activities. My family has taken this as a personal challenge we planted a garden, got more chickens, invested in more board games, and bought a sprinkler. Lots of people planted gardens too and now that we are in the middle of summer, July is time to plant a fall garden.
The best part of gardening is how busy it keeps everyone, my children love watching it change day to day., our chickens are loving all the scraps. It is the best part of Covid for us.
Summer is here to stay in Oklahoma. Summer in Oklahoma means it is hot as all get out. The heat and children can make it difficult to stay organized and keep your sanity. Every family I know goes through the “Use every dish in the house” all summer long. My home is no different, cups are our problem so I came up with an excellent solution for the cups. I got these cute color changing tumblers with lids and straws from Walmart and I put each child’s name on their cup. They must use only that cup and wash it themselves. It is a great way to cut back on dishes and teaches smaller children how to wash dishes at the same time. Also, I have seen this done with plastic bowls and plates.
My family loves to camp and go to the lake for the day. It is so much work to get ready and to put everything up when you get home. Have no fear! I have a solution for that too. I use totes for our camping stuff that we take with us every time, plates, coffee pot, matches, etc. then when we return home I just reorganize, replenish and pack it away for our next trip to the lake. I use laundry baskets for clothes, towels, and groceries. Use different colored baskets for different things, for example; I use a white basket for my groceries and a blue one for clothes and towels. When we get home it is so simple, put the blue basket in the laundry room and the white in the kitchen, it makes putting things away so fast. As we all know, putting things away is the worst part of camping.
My most important tip, give yourself a break! This entire summer has been harder than normal. If your house is not as clean as you would like, it’s ok. Remember to be kind to yourself, you are doing Great!
Disclaimer: Always remember to check all labels before mixing any cleaning products. Never mix bleach with vinegar, ammonia, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol. If you are unsure, never hesitate to do your own research to make sure your information is up to date. The off-label use of cleaning products is 100% at your own risk. The information which is summarized here in does not constitute financial or other professional advice and is general in nature.