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August 27, 2008


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Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

I have a different kind of problem, I have to much stuff in my pantry. My mom taught me how to do it, when you open the last one of something put it on the list and then by the time the ketchup bottle is really empty you've remembered the list and remembered to actually mark it off the list thing is I buy my ketchup at Costco so when I buy any I buy two mega squirt bottles which when empty make fantastic instuments for water fights or unmessy outside painting. After I got married I set myself on a routine of cleaning my entire house and having all he laundry done by friday evening when the hubs get's home. Now two kids later, that's gone out the door. I WILL get back there...hopefully. I get the daily reminders from Martha Stewart because her's are completely ridiculous like making oilcloth utensil holders but it gives me a daily laugh and fills up my inbox making me feel important that I have 250 saved e-mails from Martha.

SO glad to know I'm not alone!!!

Tupperware fitting....LOVE IT!

And a hand held vacuum would be fabulous. I've also thought about getting a roomba and programming it to just follow my children around all day. That would make life simpler...and they'd have another playmate!

omfg I am having a horrible day, until I read your blog and voila! THANK GOD I'M NOT THE ONLY PERSON IN THIS FKG WORLD THAT FEELS SHIT LIKE THIS. *phew*

I am weeping with relief that I am not the only mother with a house like that. My pantry is exactly like that - random items that can never seem to form into a meal of any kind.

I'm gonna go read the rest of the comments now and get some tips...

You and I are united in our domestic zero-ness.

I have e-mailed TLC and begged them to come teach me how to be a housewife. I can't cook, I'm lousy at cleaning, and I can't organize a thing. I think they've ignored me because it's too much of a challenge for them.

My latest shortcut discovery - for meals, cook everything on a gas grill. Practically no cleanup.

My saving grace? Bathtub crayons. When I'm in the shower, I think of a zillion things I can't forget. I keep a crayon right there and jot grocery items, notes, don't forget to pay the electrician, etc on the shower tiles. THEN before I go to the grocery store, I consult the shower for the things I've forgotten to add to the list. Works like a CHARM.

Okay.. so, I know it's a pricey suggestion.. but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Shark Steamcleaner Mop. It uses steam to clean wood and tile floors.. It's super light and uses NO harsh cleaners. Just water. And it works super fast and thoroughly. My kitchen floor is my pet peeve. Now I have a way to keep all my wood floors clean. Last week I cleaned my kitchen floor in less time than it took my hubby to walk the trash down to the dumpster (we're on the 3rd floor). Not bad. Good luck!

I used to live by the Roomba, but the battery has been dead for like 2 yrs and I haven't shelled out the 50 bucks for a new one. But my Dyson does 90% of my cleaning, with Method wipes and spray bringing up the rear. My husband recently gave me shit for forgetting to bring mustard for our hot dogs when we went camping. WTF?? So- always save those packets and spread them around- house, cars- I even carried around a ChicFilA sauce packet in my bag for a few weeks. Just in case.

My house is a mess, but my pantry, kitchen and desk are my saving grace. I am organized to a t there. I have an entire notebook dedicated to what we are having for dinner. And I love me some Costco....just don't ask about laundry and my basement aka the great abyss.

The whole organized kitchen thing didn't come easily though. I had the exact opposite problem as you did though. I was a hoarder. I had too much food in my house and stuff would go bad before we could eat it. I finally figured out I needed to do something about it and got rid of a ton of hamburger helper boxes and hot chocolate packets and figured out what I would need. Then I made up menus for the week.....very easy. If I can do this anyone can.

But that's the only thing that is organized in my life so I don't know what that says about me, except I LOVE my damned potholders. Thanks.

What do I love? My apple corer. Cuts apples into perfect slices in a few seconds, and the kids all gather 'round and say, "Oooh--flower!"

You have described me and my house exactly. EXACTLY. This is the reason why I love the blogosphere, it's a literal reminder that I am not alone. Thank you for this post!

I'll admit that sometimes, even with a list, I will forget the primary item I went to the store for in the first place. Before I had my daughter, the never happened. The joys of mommy brain.

I'm with you on the sippies. You know, the more you have - the more you would have to clean. I do keep some of the take & toss sippies on hand to take when we go off somewhere. Heaven forbid I lose the real deal.

OMG - I'm so glad someone else is as domestically challenged as I. But we're so much more creative than those people who actually have all the ingredients to make something good for dinner and have no less than 50 spices in their pantries and always have enough diapers and wipes :)

Okay - I enjoy baking - but i could give a crap on how to learn to make a pie crust.

I love Pillbury's premade pie crust. They allow me to enjoy "baking" and creating delicious fillings!

If Pillbury wants to hook me up - so be it - your product rocks and I love you for it.


Long post=long comment:

- Please don't ever buy more sippy cups, because if you ever need more, I can just send you a whole box of them, due to my wife's persistent belief a couple years ago that we were somehow running out. I even have some unused ones, still in their original packaging.

- We also have Cardamom from a forgotten recipe that we should find just so we can use it a second time before having to throw it away. Is there some kind of Cardamom charity out there, taking donations on behalf of the Cardamom-needy? It sounds ridiculous, but as I recall it wasn't cheap, so I could kind of see that really happening.

- If you ever find that "other container" of wipes/diapers/etc., please let me know, cause I could swear it was around her somewhere. For the record, you are NOT way behind the curve, because you have emergency backup sources of all those things to get you by until you can replenish your stores. As long as you also restock your emergency supplies then, you are a genius and need not be so hard on yourself.

Thank God. Here I thought you were some kind of alien with all your business commitments etc...at least I know we own the same pantry!

I have to say, I agree with whomever said, how can you have time to deal with domestic crap when you have the kids and the traveling husband? And the blogz. And the podcast. And clearly a brain that keeps you up at night with crazy new Internet ideas (blog the recession/facebook sucks) rather than drugstore shopping lists. We can't all be good at everything. That's just the way it goes. I am really fast at typing, for example, so who gives a shit if I can't remember what day is trash day?

I love it when people own up to being domestically challenged. Makes me feel so much less lame because I could be that club's president. Apparently I need me some flylady.

Haha Zip. No sadly, I'm not exaggerating. Just as my friend The New Girl, who nearly fainted upon seeing my spice rack.

The only oil I have is olive oil, which I used to make my husband's birthday cake today.

And my pepper "mill -- basically one of those glass things that allows you to grind your own pepper - is empty, so I shake it to get what's left.

Sad. Very very sad.

I totally can see where your coming from. And can totally relate. not just the thing with the kids...I mean everything. I just moved from chicago to the da dirty south (hey thats what all those stupid rap songs call it!) .. HELLO can we say culture shock! I just started a blog about it. I'm not all miss fancy pants like you, im just doing it because to keep me from going crazy, and to rant and rave. lol. no $, but come check it out sometime. I am always reading your blog, you deffinetly made it okay for me to bitch, and not keep it to myself..

What's so wrong with resurrecting those last few dried up wipes? I once restored a pack of dessicated wipes that I found in my car with a can of Mendota water. It did the job.

This post along with your interview with W.T. Mom have really helped me to feel better about my own domestic challenges. Thanks.

O.K. Kristen. While I suspect you're being intentionally self depricating to make us all feel better, I must admit you've made me feel better. I am always SO impressed with ALL you do, on top of having two kids, one on the way, and a husband who's job keeps him away so often. If you have a hard time keeping diapers stocked, that just brings you that much closer to earth with the rest of us.
In my opinion, you're still one of the most together mama's out there!

Funny thing is, yesterday my husband told me we had to stop at Dairy Queen on the way home from the BMV (they share a parking lot) so that we could get a bunch of ketchup packets for the fried chicken sandwiches in the freezer for dinner last night. He does most of the cooking, and now that he's back in school, it's microwave foods for us.

When I was going back to work after my daughter was born, I made up a list of the meals we would be eating for the next 4 weeks (accounting for leftovers and eating-out days). Then I made grocery lists based on those meals. That way, even if you want to switch up the actual meals, you'll be guaranteed to have all the ingredients on hand.

There's a grocery list pad out there entitled "All Out Of" and I used it as a basis to make my own, personalized version, printed up and made into a pad at a copy shop. I also made the list to match the layout of our grocery store, so I never have to go back for anything. Since I've run out, I'm completely lost.

Good luck.

O.k., um, HILARIOUS. You have given me enough mental imagery to last until the end of the week. (Feel free to drop me a line if you need a killer recipe for Cardamom and carrots. You *know* I have one.)

You had me at babysitter. I also love lists. My current fave is my meal list. I let the H pick the main dishes and then I write down what to buy. It has eliminated the dreaded "whats for dinner" question. ALso love the ROomba with all my heart. When we need sippys we simply look in the cars and couch cushins..what's so hard about that!? Wish I could email you some Melting Moments from MSU.

we are kind of in the same boat here. w could even go to the stoe, buy $300 worth of groceries and not ave the right food for more than oe proper dinner.

Makes it kind of fun though.

I so relate to the Flylady comment -- she is way too much work. When I tried following her plan I felt like it added to the stress by giving me one more thing I had to do.

After raising six children all these years, and I still have five at home with the youngest three-years-old, I've learned the best way to get a handle on everything is a schedule. However, that doesn't mean I am perfect sticking to one but I know for myself if I can follow a schedule throughout the week then I'm happier, the kids and dh are happier, and life goes smoother. But. . . it requires me to discipline myself which I find difficult to do sometimes.

I also use a lot of lists too: to do lists, grocery lists, home school/lesson plan lists, phone call lists, scouting lists, bill lists, writing/business lists, story idea lists, etc. you name it I've probably made a list for it. Then the key is I have to use them which I often don't so I just wasted more time I didn't have to make the lists I don't end up using. Hahaha! Oh well!

Just remember you're not Martha Stewart -- and I'm sure she had a nanny and a maid when the kids were growing up.

Get a dog, they clean up everything. Tess eats anything M drops on the floor, shreds all of the bills for us, so we don't have to worry about identity theft, and when she isn't feeling well, mows the lawn by eating the grass.

I have no idea why I don't live in a condemned garbage house, because I feel like I have no time. I think the one thing that has saved me is trying to not enter/leave a room without putting something away, tidying up.

However, if I ever get another raise, I'm getting a cleaning lady.

How do all those women do it? I used to be so organized! Then I got married and had two more kids and now? Now it's terrible! I think most women aren't really like that. Besides, I'd rather be a golden retreiver (or maybe a boxer) than a yippy little Jack Russell any day.

Flylady seconded here. And a romba. I love my robot, we call her Rosie. I have one upstairs and one downstairs and then I only have to vaccuum the stairs:)

I hated the Diaper Genie. It was just one more stinky thing that neither my husband or I ever seemed to clean.

I love my Swifter. It only does an average job, but as long as we keep our shoes on, no one knows the difference.

Also, a gym membership with childcare is the best invention on this planet. I work out and then sit in the locker room and make my grocery lists, shower...with make-up, and sometimes read a magazine.

Somebody, anybody - send me a link to a cleaning product that smells like mint (besides Method eucalyptus mint, which I already know and love). I'm so tired of "fresh scent" and "citrus scent" and "lavender scent".

Viva paper towels. There's what every household needs. Try them, you'll be converted.

Amazon and diapers.com both have delivery programs for staples (ie - diapers & wipes, maybe ketchup). It's cheaper than the grocery store and free shipping. You set the schedule so it just shows up at your door when you need them!

Without Lysol wipes, my house would never be clean. We have whatever spices came in the pretty container that spins from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

And really, I'm living with the skewed belief that third kids raise themselves. Right?

hands down the swiffer vac has changed my life.

Dream Dinners dot com is OMG FABULOUS! 2 hours = a MONTH of ready made dinners to pull from the freezer.

I clean a significantly larger portion of the apartment (and more often) when I have Clorox Wipes thatn I would if I didn't have them around. The knock-off bulk pack from Costco works great.

The First Years makes "Take n Toss" sippy cups, sold at Target.

And I keep a list of "what's in the freezer/fridge, and cross things off as we eat them. That way I know how many possible meals REALLY are still left in the kitchen(and give yourself credit for spaghetti and mac n cheese, it counts too).

Um. Favourite whatev? Cleaning service. Seriously. My time is worth between $27 and $40/hour and his is worth $50-$70/hour. When it takes both of us two hours each to clean the house (4 hours) its well worth outsourcing.

And the crockpot.

Your kids eat carrots? Haha!

I have a pre-made grocery list that I hang on the fridge so I can check stuff off when we need it. I can email it to you if you want it. You can add or take things off for your family.

Mac n cheese and frozen meat like things that I can bake. I gave up cooking two years ago when the hubs complained that every time I made a casserole with cream of mushroom soup, that IT ALL tasted like the soup. I was like "bite me" and I silently went on strike. Now, he goes to the store. I make the list and laugh to myself when he brings home the exact thing I told him NOT to buy(ie: no splenda or nutrasweet, not x brand..yada...)
His idea of dinner is frozen pizza, which makes the three year old barf if he doesn't get a dose of chewable pepcid beforehand.

If I had room for one more appliance? I'd probably get the crockpot out of storage.

Also, we have a Roomba. We LOVE THE ROOMBA. We are so buying more robots.

Vodka... definately vodka.

I feel so comforted by this post. I suck at housework. And honestly, I don't feel real compelled to change that. Yes, I'd like to unbury myself from the clutter, and yes, I want to make sure that the house isn't like the 'before' you see on How Clean Is Your House. However, at the end of my life, I'm doubtful that I'll say "Damn, I wish I'd spent more time cleaning."

My top two would be those crock pot bags and the oxy pod carpet cleaners.

The crock pot liner bags are great, no more scrubbing. You simply lift the bag out and throw it away and wipe the crock pot out. Woo hoo! I'm all about not doing dishes.

The Oxy Pod carpet and upholstery cleaner is awesome. It is little and handheld and you just squeeze the liquid on your stain and it easily scrubs out. I have gotten everything out that my kids have thrown at it - even the time they decided to smash blueberries into my beige carpet . . .

Try shopping for groceries once a week. I also keep a pad of paper on the fridge so that when I run out of something I will write it right away on the pad of paper. That helps keep me from having to make 20 trips to the store.

Of course you can have all the lists and still forget something on the bottom of the cart and end up still being screwed.

Pantry staples for baking for me are flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla extract. Bonus points for brown sugar, corn meal, and cocoa powder.

Other staples are boxes of whole wheat pasta, jarred spaghetti sauce, brown rice, a few cans of veggies and low sodium broths and soups (cream of chicken and tomato specifically, use those for sauces). Anything else I find in there is a bonus.

I am right there with you. Except that I have a trillion random spices in my cabinet, most used once/year. Maybe. And a trillion mismatched plastic food storage tubs.

I once tried Flylady. That lasted at most 2 days. She's way too much work. And I felt like I was being brainwashed.

So far, the most useful grocery org tool I have found is a pre-printed list on a pad with a big magnet on the back. It lives on the fridge door, and 80% of the stuff I need I can mark with an X instead of having to think of and write down.

When this one runs out, I may make a customized version and have a copy shop turn it into a pad for me. That would help me remember the random things I'm always forgetting, like parmesean cheese.

CLEANING FAIRIES! Get thee some reasonably priced people to come in once every two weeks. I know it's not always affordable, depending on where you live. But for me, my sanity is worth a hundred dollars a month.

Domestic goddess I am not. My husband does more housework than I (in my defense, he gets home before I do)...However, the only Alpha Mom thing I do is dinner, and I have a recipe blog that I am slowly adding more and more recipes to. It has our weekly menus on it, and you can just click on the labels if you're looking for a particular meal (ie beef, chicken, pork, meatless)...I despire grocery shopping, so I only go every other week.

My dear, someone needs to take you in and show you the ropes. Like a house swap for the domestically challenged. You crack me up. You are so nonchalant about this kid #3 thing. Is it really that soon?

Lists! Lists, lists, lists. It was and is the only way I could get by, especially in the baby days. You know, after my brain cells were either pushed out during delivery or diminished from lack of sleep. I use those notepads you can buy with the magnetic strips on the back to hang on the fridge and every time we come across something we need (when we too are using ketchup packets), we put it on the list.

Now the hard part for me is actually REMEMBERING to take the list when I go shopping But, bless the cell phone so that I can call home and have the list read to me .. so that I can then write it on a napkin. But I seriously couldn't function without the lists.

I know they are so not "green," but I love the Ziploc bags that you can steam veggies in. I never could find my basket steamer, and then I was always reluctant to dirty a pot just to steam a veggie.

But the bags? Easy peasy. Now we have fresh steamed veggies at almost every meal.

And buy a Rachel Ray 30-minute meal cookbook. I hate her, but her cookbook is really good, I have to admit. It also gives tips on how to stock the pantry.

And Joy of Cooking is my bible. Simple food, and good.

I'm all for convenience! Anything to make taking care of four kids a little bit easier! I am very culinary-challenged myself, thankfully when my hubby is home (he works out-of-town for weeks at a time) he takes over the cooking. ;o)

Diaper Genie. Except when it comes to changing out the bag. Can they make that a bit easier please. Please.

HAHA - I meant to say baby carrots. There is CLEARLY NO carrot cutting in this house.

Paper towels with water always work in a pinch. Sippy cups? Buy those cheapo ones that come 6 to a pack. Then, when you find one full of 2 week old milk wedged between the bed and the wall (speaking from experience clearly), you won't find the need to try to resurrect.

I need a handheld vac but I can't decide which one to buy.

Oh you know what works great - those GIANT ziplock bags for storing items. AWESOME. When I bother to climb in the attic I can see exactly what's in them and get what I need vs. digging through plastic tubs.

You didn't have a hand-held vac? Gasp! I don't know how I'd live without one.

crock pot dinners are something we live by here, especially in the school year when we are being pulled every which way.

Clorox greenworks is a mulit purpose cleaner, gotta love those multipurpose things that actually work.

Downy wrinkle releaser spray. OMG, this stuff rocks! No more ironing...okay very little.

I was so annoyed the first time I accidentally bought snack-size ziplocs. What was I going to do with THOSE? Um, like everything from snacks to poop samples for the doctor. Oh yes.

I LOVELOVELOVE my dustbuster! When you have little kids who leave a splatter zone of shrapnel around the table after every meal it is saving my sanity. Because while I love having clean floors, I DESPISE my big vacuum. I hate hauling it out and dealing with the cords. It's heavy and doesn't work that well and awkward to move around. I think my handheld vac is one of the things I'm missing most while displaced from home.

I always just tell myself the ones who have a "perfect" house are robots. There's no way a real human with small children at home can do it. At least not that I can wrap my head around.

Oh, it's all about ziplock bags and my mini Shark!

I support the baby carrot vote. Seriously- I am so there with being challenged and that part re: the dry wipes made me nod my head in recognition! You are so brave to have two! Go girl!

You need Flylady. Seriously. It's not a genetic thing... Being able to run a household, plan a meal, etc. is a learned skill.

Flylady will help you get your housework on a schedule, so that you don't have to think about it. Her friend Leeann does Saving Dinner which takes all the work out of menu planning and grocery shopping (the only way it could be easier is if they delivered the groceries to your door). I've used both, sort of as homemaking bootcamp, and now that I've incorporated some of their ideas into my own life, I don't follow them religiously anymore. Still, when I need a boost, I go back and sign up. Good stuff.


Who cuts carrots into sticks?

Baby carrots, baby. No sharp edges.

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