Monday, February 13, 2017

Keepers at Home: Menu Monday, Spring Cleaning and List Making


As promised last week, today I launch the NEW and improved Menu Monday mashed up with Keepers at Home.  I hope you enjoy the retool!

Life this week...
After 4/5 of our household being sick last week, I am looking forward to "normal" this week (as of writing this, I'm still not feeling much better... hopefully that changes!).  Our car has been fickle lately and we won't be able to get it in the shop until the end of the month so it remains to be seen whether our usual schedule of events will be in play... like Youth Group on Wednesday night.

I was blessed with a new camera, which arrives Tuesday (Happy Valentine's Day!).  After many years of use, my old one gave out on me about 3 years ago.  I've been using my cell phone camera ever since. If we can manage a happy car one day this week, I would like to go take this new ministry tool for a test-drive somewhere lovely in our town... and not too taxing on the engine.  I love to play around creatively with picture taking and have missed it since my old one died!

Logan Pass, Glacier National Park

Sketching in the park

Front Porch Garden in Storm

Cross by Big Fork

1st Time Mowing Lawn
You get the idea!  I'm also excited for the new camera because taking and uploading new pictures here on the site has been near impossible since this past fall when an update suddenly made my phone incompatible with my computer.  It is a long story and my techy hunny has looked high and low into solutions to no avail... loosing my memory card in the process.  I'm looking forward to sharing fresh pictures here on the blog... especially for the Menu Monday section!!

Keeping Home...
Spring Cleaning and List Making
Spring cleaning is in the air as I type this.  Disinfecting after the big sickness here and then crazy warm weather after absolute arctic chills... my doors and windows are open to move the air on through.

When I think of spring cleaning, I also think of lists.

Yeah, I'm a list maker.  It is sort of an obsession with me.  Like, seriously, one look into my Homemaking file on my computer would reveal a plethora of lists, half of which are revisions of revisions of revisions to accommodate seasons or given taste... or evolving need.

You may laugh at me, or agree with me, but I am here to tell ya ladies... a list and a routine (you stick with!) are phenomenal tools in managing your home... and an ability to notice needed adjustments along with the inevitable; get back on track because you got off... or got lazy... but I am sure you wouldn't get lazy, right?  Well, I have.  I think it is just the doldrums. 

None-the-less, lately I have gotten lazy!  (Tell me ladies, how often do you fall into that rut?!)  We do the basics... whatever is the least we need to do to get by and make the house look good.  No cares for the cobwebs or the appliance wipe-downs or the mopping (seriously, I know, that is bad)... there are a handful of incidentals that are easy to look the other way on... until hubby notices and cringes or company drops in and my mind scatters, wondering if the corners of the bathroom floor got wiped out.... this month!

I have a nifty check-list I ignore I mean use... Ok I need to get back to using.  It works GREAT when I do. I designed it shortly after moving into our new house.  I used a printed out blank sheet like the one below:
Click me to Download PDF

For the first few weeks I collected a list of the different areas and things I needed to keep up on.  I started with a sheet for each room (both bathrooms shared a sheet) so the collection of to-dos was more concise.  After I felt I had exhausted the needs of each room for a week, I sat down and typed up a final draft with all the rooms collected on one sheet. 

I print and keep a copy in my planner.  I print a fresh one for each week, but you could print a master copy and place it in a glossy sheet protector to hang where it won't easily rub off and re-use with a dry-erase marker.

Why set-up a static cleaning list?
  • Seeing the details of cleaning in each room or area helps you remember how big (or small) a job is so you can be sure to allot the appropriate amount of time for each task.
  • It makes relegating chores more streamlined.  You can place each family member's initials next to a given chore and then they are responsible for making sure to complete the task and check it off the list.
I believe getting a hold of my weekly chores will be critical as we approach spring cleaning.
  #1 - less crumbs now = less ants later
  #2 - making regular cleaning needs a habit before introducing BIG cleaning projects
         in the spring will make life much easier
  #3 - a clean house is a healthier house!
  #4 - if cleaning laziness has set in through the winter doldrums, getting back into routine
         will build stamina for the spring clean up ahead

Something special to share...
In honor of Valentine's Day I thought I would revive a recipe I shared 2 Aprils ago. It is crazy simple and deliciously sweet...

You can click on the link within the title to be whisked away to the recipe and directions.  This picture is from when I made it for my birthday and tacked some periwinkle silk blossoms on top.  You could easily place a  cherry or rose or some other lovely thing as a garnish... or leave it simply glazed.  No matter how you serve it from the outside, you will make mouths water and tummies thankful with the inside...

Menu for this week...
I usually try to schedule our dinners around my son's work schedule.  Teenage boys tend to eat a bit more than the rest of us!  He works about 4 nights a week.  Hubby and I probably will not go out for Valentine's Day this year, but I will plan a fun dinner for everyone... and maybe even a special dessert!

- cereal/oatmeal
- eggs
- fresh bread with butter and jam

hubby: sausage and rice
me and kids: leftovers, grilled sandwiches, grilled tuna sandwiches, mac-n-cheese


Chicken and Broccoli Bake
A new recipe I developed.  I fry up chicken pieces (usually cut about 1-2" x 1/2") in butter/margarine with garlic and onion powder.  I mix it in a buttered backing dish with frozen broccoli (when I remember, I will thaw it in some hot water so it is a bit soft before it cooks), I toss in a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and then spread some cheddar cheese sprinkles in a thin layer over the top.  I bake at 375 for about 20-30 minutes and serve with some fresh bread, french bread or rolls.  It is a new family favorite!


Beef Stroganoff, Mashed Potato, Green Beans and still TBD Dessert
Super easy and cost-effective meal.  I've shared the recipe before but just in case you missed it then:
1.5 - 2 lbs ground beef (or turkey), fry with some chopped onion, drain off grease about when meat is about half-done, sprinkle on garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.  Spritz in some Worcestershire sauce.  Add 2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup, 1/2 can beef stock (I use water and half a teaspoon beef bullion and the mushroom soup can filled half way with water) and 1-2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Stir and warm well over medium heat and serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.  (You can add parsley and/or fresh garlic when cooking for additional flavor)

Spaghetti and Cheesy Bread Sticks

Chicken Pot Pie
I use a basic pie crust recipe, rolled out into a casserole dish.  I make chicken gravy using Wondera (you can also use cream of chicken soup), mix in cubed cooked chicken and a bag of mixed frozen veggies.  Bake @ 350-375 for 30-45 minutes or until crust begins to brown on edges.


Burger and Veggie Stix Chips

What are you doing and cooking this week?


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