|Photo of our front porch by Zac & Kaitlin Photography|
There are people all over the web posting about meal planning. I know it's nothing new.. but for me, planning all of our meals for the week ahead has simplified our lives. Before we got married, I had literally never cooked. But here's the thing, y'all. I love everything about homemaking. So I had to rise to the challenge, and teach myself to cook. You may not get something crazy gourmet at our house, but it is my hope and prayer that you will always leave our house full and happy in more ways than one. I only plan every week, and on Mondays, I hit the grocery store for everything needed for the upcoming week. This allows us to eat fresh foods and not need to worry too much about things going bad in the week ahead. After getting meals for the week on the schedule, I stopped forgetting to defrost chicken or to turn on the crock pot at the right time... it was all right there in my planner. I love it!
If y'all are interested in more details about how I meal plan, I'm willing to share, so let me know in the comments! I feel like there is tons of information on this all over the place, so I didn't want to be repetitive unless y'all really wanted my input! :)
2. My Swiffer Vac:
Suggested to me by a friend, my Swiffer Vac has cut down a ton of time on my cleaning routine, as well as made it a lot less painful. You see, the majority of our home has hardwood flooring. Our living room and office have carpet, but that's all. For the first six months or so of us living here, I felt like I was CONSTANTLY sweeping. Constantly trying not to step in or mess up little piles and just being over it and not wanting to sweet. For a girl who generally enjoys cleaning, this wasn't cutting it for me. The beauty of the swifter vac is that it vacuums as you swiffer (you're welcome for breaking that down for you!) As you move your little pad around the floor, dust, hair (yep!), dirt, etc is picked up, and other things get sucked up in the vacuum. It is so easy and leaves the floor a whole lot cleaner than just sweeping... it just does a more thorough job. If you have hardwoods, I wish I could mail every single one of you a Swiffer Vac. Really. It's worth the $35. It's been a total attitude game changer for me.
Ps. No one at Swiffer knows I wrote this... but I wish they would because then they'd send me Swiffers to give away and I'd feel like Oprah!
3. Learning from Older Women
Just yesterday I joined my mother in law in her kitchen to get a lesson on pie crust. I even made a test pie for Thanksgiving. I will openly say that the pecan pie would have been flawless, except I somehow totally forgot the butter. It turned out tasting wonderful anyway, and was probably a little bit healthier! Yippeee! I love learning recipes and entertaining tips and cleaning habits from older women around me. This Monday is the last week of Apples of Gold, a six week mentoring program I've been participating in through our church. Each week is a lesson on a characteristic (Purity, Loving your husband, Hospitality, Humility, etc.) and then a brief cooking lesson on what meal is being served.. then we eat together and discuss the lesson. It's been such a blessing and I've learned a lot. I encourage everyone to seek out women around them and to ask for cooking lessons, and really lessons of all types! I am certain it blesses them as much as it will you!
4. Trying New Recipes
I just started trying anything that I wanted to, and it has been a huge success. I can't recall a single time that I've made something we've hated.. but when it does happen one day... there is a Subway down the road, we have plenty of cereal.... no love lost. :) My favorite places to pull from are The Pioneer Woman, Crockin Girls, and Skinnytaste.
5. Fifteen Minute Power Cleans
What is that? Let me tell ya! I know that when everything isn't in it's place, I feel a little bit chaotic. Something I've implemented recently that has really helped, is taking 15 minutes within the hour before Ben gets home from work, and just rushing around the house putting things in their place or wiping off counters. Sometimes it's just organizing my things on the desk. But this has made me feel so much better about the state of things and I hope he's liked it too!
6. Always Be Willing To Host
I've learned so much about homemaking simply through volunteering to host things at our home. We've hosted so many dinners, a large scale couples shower... and in the next month we'll host two Thanksgiving dinners and a party. This has been an opportunity for me to grow creatively, plus I just love having others in the place that we love so much! It doesn't matter if you're eating pizza on paper plates, having people in our home is a blessing to so many.
What helps you keep your home moving along nicely? What great homemaking advice has been passed on to you? Anyone want to come over for dinner? :)