De-cluttering Your Home – Creating a Peaceful Environment

De-cluttering Your Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*affiliate links may be present

De-cluttering your home – one step at a time, one room at a time, one day at a time – is the first step to creating a more peaceful environment.

Getting rid of clutter helps you find clarity in mind and emotions. It ultimately relieves anxiety and guilt!

It can be easy to put it off when you are looking at clutter that has built up over time. You can become overwhelmed and end up putting it off even longer.

De-cluttering doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have a plan to help you jump in and get started, and then finish the race like a champ!

Getting Started:

Make a list of the major rooms you want to tackle. Then, break down each room with a list of the most important goals you have for that room, down to the least important.

Make a list for each goal in the rooms. For instance, I have a child’s bedroom that has been used for storage and now needs to be turned into a room suitable for a pre-teen boy. It is a mess.

The biggest problems in the room are clothes that the family has outgrown, and all the toys that they no longer use. Of course, that would be easy enough, but there are clothes in the mix that we need to save for other children, and toys that need to be kept for others.

It has been overwhelming because things have been piling up in that room for a long time – making it most uninviting  – not even a little bit of de-cluttering going on in there.  I have avoided it at all cost!

FlyLady.net

Step number one is to get a bin for clothes that need to be stored and a bin for those to give away, a bin for toys to keep and a bin for toys to give away. It is also important to have a trash can on hand to throw away anything that is broken or clothes that are not worth mending. Turn on your favorite music and jump right in!

Set a timer for 30 minutes at a time and work against the clock to get through the first pile. It is okay  if you don’t make it on time, just reset the clock and keep on going! Take a break in between or at least every hour or so, move on to the next area on your list until all the clutter in room one has been removed.

Pull out your cleaning list until everything sparkles and shines!

Bullet Points

  • Divide and Conquer – use bins to separate clutter into keep, give away, throw away
  • Set a timer – in 30 minute increments
  • Turn up the tunes
  • Check off your list until each section in the room is clutter free
  • Clean the room
  • Move to the next room in the house

One of the best ways to stay on top of clutter is to educate yourself with great homemaking wisdom from The Fly Lady – who happens to be one of the fabulous Molly Green Magazine writers. She’ll help you make a flight plan and divide your home into zones that will keep you from getting behind ever again.

Visit FlyLady.net to learn tips and tricks from a real pro! 

linking with Works for me Wednesday

 

Easy Cheesy Crackers from Build A Menu and cooking with kids

Easy Cheesy Crackers

You will love these Easy Cheesy Crackers – another great guest post and recipe from our partners at Build A Menu.

I like to give my kids recipes that involve them getting their hands dirty. They love to make a mess, love to get their hands right down into the process. So I figure, why fight it? I took a recipe for cheese crackers, ramped up the flavor a bit with some garlic, and tossed the pastry cutter idea out the window.

Who needs a pastry cutter when you have ten fingers ready to stir and squish? And while using cookie cutters might be super cute, with a relatively crumbly dough I knew the frustration factor (hard to move from board to cookie sheet!) would be too high for my children. So I had them just roll it out right on the cookie sheet and use a pastry wheel to cut squiggly lines.

They loved it! When the crackers came out of the oven, I actually had excited children standing by the cooling rack.

This recipe is a keeper!

Easy Cheesy Crackers

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

• 4 tablespoons butter, softened

• 3/4 cup flour

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 tablespoon milk

Directions

Heat oven to 350°. Put the cheese, butter (cut in pieces), flour, salt and garlic in a bowl.

Cracker Ingredients

Use clean hands to mix the ingredients together between your fingers (squish that butter!) until the dough is coarse crumbs, about the size of peas.

Add the milk and use your hands to form the dough into a ball. If you are a 7-year-old boy it is okay to make the dough into a volcano first. This is not a necessary step in creating the crackers, but may be necessary to the creative process; volcanoes often are – if you are a little boy.

Lightly flour a baking sheet. We lined ours with foil because it is an old beat-up sheet, but it proved to be useful as we were able to easily remove the crackers on the foil for cooling. Place the dough on it and roll out the dough until it is 1/8″ thick.

Cross cut dough for cheesy crackers

Cut lines in the dough like a grid to make cracker-sized squares. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Cool on the baking sheet, then break apart into squares.

Yummy Cheesy squares

Build A Menu is an online menu planning service that makes meal planning and grocery shopping fast, easy and budget friendly. Not familiar with it? Take a minute to browse the site and see how it can save you time and money, too!

Go HERE to check it out and download your printed recipe for delicious Easy Cheesy Crackers!

Molly Members – Access Dine on a Dime HERE- Exclusively for Molly Members from Build A Menu! 

Members Page HERE – New MGM 2014 Issues

Molly’s $7 Suppers HERE 

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Teach Kids About Work and Money: Free Online Chore Chart

*affiliate links may be present

 

I just love this free online chore chart!

The chore list

The chore list (Photo credit: demandaj)

I’m always on the lookout for specials and free deals to improve our lives on the home front. MyJobChart.com is a valuable resource for families. Teaching kids about work and money is an important part of  family life. Having tools that make it simple can take the sting of chore time as they tend to build motivation.

FREE online chore chart that motivates your kids and earns them rewards that they can save, donate to charity, or spend on toys!

Motivating Your Kids Is Easy: Just 1-2-3:

1) Sign-up for MyJobChart!

2) Assign Chores to Your Kids

3) Reward Your Kids For Great Work!

 

Chores in a children's home

Chores in a children’s home (Photo credit: theirhistory)

A Chore Chart makes it easy to assign chores, and makes it more motivating for children to fulfill them.  It facilitates fun, engaging, hands-on learning and teaches children the principles of sharing, saving, and spending.  MyJobChart.com gives parents the tools they need to instill a strong work ethic and teach financial responsibility.

For me, an effective resource needs to be both frugal and simple to use – in order to be worth the time and effort of using it. As long as you are reasonably familiar with using online services, you should not have trouble with this one. I believe it can be especially beneficial in organizing large family chores.

Once your basic information is in place, it only takes a short time each week to add additional information to personalize any particular week or month for your family.

Do you use chore charts in your home? Have you tried an online version? 

Molly Green Magazine members gain wisdom and knowledge from years of practical application in the arts of household management from FlyLady.com  - Find out more about the extra benefits of becoming a Molly Member HERE. 

 

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Money Matters: Four ways to teach kids to save

Piggy bank from German bank HASPA, around 1970.

Money Matters

Four Practical and Effective Ways to Teach Kids How to Save

Ages one through six-years-old is the perfect time to teach your kids about money. Teaching them in their formative years about the value of money and how to save effectively will definitely build a strong financial foundation for them. If you’re going to impart lasting wisdom and knowledge to your kids, it might as well be about managing their personal finances.
1) Be intentional. Decide that it’s something you want to teach your kids in the long run. This means you have to plan it out and follow through with your goals. If you truly see the value of what you want to teach your kids, you wouldn’t give up or stop. It’s best to start teaching them about money while you can still influence them. Once your time is up (teenage years), you and your kids might come to regret it.

2) Make it fun. Most people hate math because it’s “boring.” Don’t let your kids feel the same thing just because saving money involves numbers! The only way to make your kids love saving is by teaching them how it could be so much fun.

  •  Books: Who says reading a bedtime story always has to be about fairy tales or your horrible recollections of that embarrassing experience you had when you were 12? You can inspire your kids to save through books that teach them the value of saving money instead. Try the books Dolly Parton’s A Coat of Many Colors, or The Berenstain Bear’s Trouble with Money by Stan Berenstain.
  • Toys: You can buy cash teller machines or cute piggy banks to encourage them that saving money can be a lively and fun thing to do. Play games with your kids. Add little colorful piggy banks at every corner of the house and tell them it’s a challenge to “feed” your house pigs coins to keep them healthy. The possibilities are endless.
  •  Shows: Expose them to television shows that show how important money is, like Cha-Ching in Cartoon Network.  You can search for other resources online.
  • Apps: Do you know a kid who hasn’t played a touch-screen app yet? Kids are definitely regular users of smartphones and tablets, and like you, they deserve apps that encourage the better use of money. Download apps: Life Quest, Kids Money or Virtual Piggy.

3) Trust them. Your kids will love it if you treat them like adults. Trusting them with money and believing that they will do good with it will boost their confidence. This way, you’re effectively showing them they’re more than capable of handling and managing money. Try to be their “savings buddy” saving. Give them challenges or ask them for “help,” anything that would make you and your kids save for something. If you all reach your common goals, then your kids will definitely be more motivated in saving money. Don’t forget to be encouraging and supportive all the time.

4) Finally, practice what you preach. If you constantly teach your kids about saving money and yet they see you indulging in a ton of unnecessary things, you might as well give up on raising money-savvy children. Kids are the best copycats. They look up to you. Mommy and Daddy are their first superheroes and idols, and it’s only natural for them to follow whatever you’ll do — the good things … and the bad. So always be cautious around your children because, most times, they’ll follow your example — even when you don’t want them to.
Your children’s financial success depends on you! The earlier you start teaching them about savings, the better off your kids will be in the future!

About the Author
Jep Barroga is a freelance writer and blogger for MoneyHero, a Hong Kong based finance portal that provide unbiased information on loans, credit cards, and other financial products. Jep will be sharing more information about teaching kids to save money next week. He will share with us his favorite apps to use to make it a fun and memorable experience.

 

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6 Major Benefits of Family Homesteading

benefits of family homesteading

There are many aspects of homesteading, and the challenges are great, but the rewards are even greater! These are only a few of the major benefits of family homesteading:

Homesteading shows you what matters most

Homesteading brings you back to basics. It changes the way you look at things, the difference between wants and needs become much more clear when in most other modern day life, the lines are much more blurred.

It is a Journey towards self-sufficiency

Homesteading is a lifestyle, a way of thinking, getting back to nature, back to the land, a journey towards becoming self-sufficient. There are many different levels of homesteading, and even for those who live in the city, changes can be made which will set you on that journey and enable you to incorporate various aspects of the homestead life into daily activities.

Homesteading is a Rewarding endeavor 

Homesteading moves away from the “instant gratification” that comes along so often in today’s culture. There is a lot of hard work that goes in to the entire process of becoming a homesteading family.  There are plants to be tended, animals to care for, and always plenty of work to be done. It is also one of the most rewarding endeavors one can ever undertake!

Satisfying and Healthy 

When you sprout seeds, nurture and harvest them and place them on the table – there is not much that is as satisfying as this back to basics, provision for the family and honestly, well, the food just tastes better!  Although it takes a lot of hard work – it also creates joy and provides a deep feeling of satisfaction in knowing you are making healthy choices for the family. Growing your own food is one of the healthiest life choices you can make these days.

family homesteading

Homesteading Teaches Respect 

Most people rush off to the grocery store each week and fill the cart full of various meats without ever fully appreciating what it means. There is a loss of life, a sacrifice which has taken place to put that meat on the table. Sadly, most people never have a full appreciation or develop respect for what it means to be a meat eater. It is easy to forget where the food we so often take for granted, comes from.

There are sometimes hard choices and difficult tasks that must be done to maintain a sustainable lifestyle – but in the process, there is a respect for the animals God created. There is a connection between the animals and the sustenance, an appreciation.

Deep Sense of Gratitude and Belonging 

There is an attitude of gratitude which comes from investing time, work, and effort into homesteading projects. The end result is something to be proud of. For children, participating in the work to feed the family, can produce a strong sense of belonging. They understand early on that each member of the family plays an important role. It builds self-esteem, and deeper character.

Although it takes a lot of hard work – it also creates joy and provides a deep feeling of satisfaction which can be hard to find otherwise in today’s society and fast paced lifestyle.

 

These are but a few of the many benefits of family homesteading. Most often, it does not happen overnight, the change of mindset to that of a homesteader. Even taking small steps towards a more back to basics lifestyle can make a positive difference in your life. One step at a time – works for me!

Do you have some simple tips for those who want to begin a journey towards a more back to basics lifestyle?

Linking with Works For Me Wed

Learn more about family homesteading, homemaking, and all things home industry with the all new Molly Green Magazine and enjoy the many benefits of  a MG Membership – find out more HERE! 

 

Importance of family dinners: & Recipe from Build a Menu

In the fast paced world we live in, it can be easy to forget the importance of bringing the family together around the table.

Guest post by Lisa Holcomb of Build a Menu

Nacho beef soup - build a menu

 

10 Conversation Starters for Dinner Time

     When you think of happy families sitting around the table eating dinner do you conjure up thoughts of “Leave it to Beaver” or some other old sitcom?   The mother walking around in her apron, high heels and pearls with a perfectly set table, perfect dinner and perfect family all sitting at the table.

Well, let’s get real please.  I know that’s sure not me.  Just like you, I’m a homeschooling, chauffeuring, (sometimes scatter brained), Jesus loving, busy, busy mom.  I’m usually doing good to get all four of my boys and my husband to the table in the evening.  Not that they don’t want to eat, just our busy schedules can get in the way.  However, we do try to make it a priority to eat dinner together as a family as many nights during the week as possible.  Some nights are harder than others.  Some nights we’re not all at home.  Still, we make it a priority as much as we can and I find that we are able to be together around the dinner table more often than not.

It really is amazing what a difference a positive meal time can make in children and families. Studies show that children who dine with the family:

  • eat more fruits and vegetables
  • are happier
  • are better adjusted  
  • are more socially adept
  • get better grades
  • are less likely to smoke, abuse drugs or alcohol
  • are less likely to suffer from eating disorders, obesity or depression

Kids of all ages benefit from family meal time together.  Teens and tweens need the family table time.  They need the positive atmosphere and conversation that should take place at the table.  They need to be reminded that they are valued and loved.

Our two youngest children were adopted from the Texas foster care system and its amazing how much healing can be done around the kitchen table eating a meal together and bonding. Families who eat together share values together.

Some of the family eat Sunday dinner, on Sunda...

Some of the family eat Sunday dinner, on Sundays the two married sons of the Sergents, their wives and children often… – NARA – 541343 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Need some conversation starters for dinner time?  Here are just a few fun ones:

  1. If you couldn’t watch TV or go online for a month, how would you spend that time?
  2. If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?  (This one is a regular topic at our table.)
  3. How can you tell someone you love them without using words?
  4. If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?
  5. If you could trade places with your parents for a day, how would you do things differently?
  6. If you could have another name what would you choose?
  7. Would you rather meet your great great grandparents or your great great grandchildren?
  8. If you could be brilliant in one subject, which would you choose?
  9. What do you think Heaven will be like?
  10. In what era would you most like to have grown up (besides the current one)?

Does your family have any favorite topics or dinner time games they like to play? We’d love to hear about them.

Try this fun dish for family game night!

This soup recipe really hit the spot and was so easy and quick to make and cost about $11.00 for the ingredients to feed my family of 6.  If you’re a Trim Healthy Mama, then this is an “S” meal for you.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did.

nacho beef soup

 

Molly Green Members enjoy exclusive access to Dine on a Dime –  weekly menu & shopping list -access right from your Molly Member Page!
Members – be sure to check out the SUPERBOWL Menu in your Dine on a Dime section this week!!! Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?

Good morning from Texas!

author Meredith Duke

Good morning! Molly asked me to sit in today as a guest blogger and I’m so thankful she did. I’ve been a Molly fan for years and have read just about every magazine and E-Book written by Molly Green.

This year I’ve been blessed to become a part of the Molly team as a writer for the “Gardening Made Easy…From the South” column. It’s been awesome writing about something I love. Of course, there’s always something to learn and there are as many ways to garden as there are gardeners. But, I’m so excited to be part of this amazing team.

You might be wondering who I am. For starters, my name is Meredith and I live in the heart of Texas, just northwest of Austin. I was born and raised in Austin and thought I’d never (ever) leave the city. But, in 1994 I married my college sweetheart, who happened to be a country boy and while we lived in the city for our first year of marriage (to finish college), we soon moved way out to the boonies. I absolutely loved it. Fast forward almost 20 years and we still live in the country in a small cabin on a hill. My husband, his brother and father built our little home. Over the years we’ve added with salvaged wood from new neighborhoods going in around us. It’s amazing what you can get just by asking.

At any rate, we’ve raised our children in the country and wouldn’t have it any other way. I started a blog several years ago and have recently changed and updated its look. We even went from a blog to a website, which is now called www.SanGabrielFarm.com. The San Gabriel River runs just south of us and is where my husband and his brother grew up fishing and running when they were in high school. A branch of it runs through our property which is where we train our labs for hunting and retrieving. It just seemed to be the right name.

On our website you can find all kinds of great information on gardening, homesteading and homeschooling. Some of my blog posts contain information on companion planting (with a detailed list of companion plants), 10 Frugal Steps to a Clean Oven, a whole series on processing a deer and making sausage, and even new ways to use fresh rosemary. There are quite a few recipes and homesteading advice and ideas throughout the website and blog. My hope is show my readers that there is more to homesteading than having livestock and owning land. Homesteading is a state of mind. Anyone can be a homesteader … even if you live in the city.

Thank you for letting me post this little blog this morning. I hope you have a blessed and glorious day! I look forward to future posts that include more ways to homestead where you are!

Meredith Duke is a homesteading, homeschooling mama on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She is married to her college sweetheart,  Johnny, and together they raise and homeschool their two children, James and Lauren. Life is never dull at San Gabriel Farm. There’s always something to do and there seems to be an adventure around every tree, just waiting to be discovered. You can read more about her and her family at www.SanGabrielFarm.com. She is also the author of Shining Through the Grief: Memoirs of Emma’s Mom as well as Bubba’s Beez Honey From the Hive Cookbook.

 

Be sure to keep up with Meredith’s articles on Gardening in the South in each issue of Molly Green Magazine! Get your membership HERE today and gain access to Dine on a Dime by Build a Menu  and much more!

Mothering Matters: bonding with your children over . . . money

teaching children about money

Mothering matters and bonding with your children over money; is it really possible?

Amanda van der Gulik author of Teaching Children About Money says it certainly is.

In this month’s issue of Molly Green Magazine, Amanda talks frankly about how the business of every day life can keep us from taking the time to enjoy real bonding with our children. Even for the stay at home mom, who spends so much of her time with the kids, it is very easy to get sidetracked with all the things that need to be done. Before you know it, too much time can gone by and those little ones, aren’t so little any more!

Amanda suggests, among other things, that including your child in planning of the family finances can be a wonderful bonding experience. Money is important in that, we have to know how to manage it in order to take good care of our families and others. If we aren’t the ones to teach our children about money . . . who will?

But, can it really bring you closer together?

 

family bonding over money

Sharing appropriate information with your child about the family budget shows them that they have an intricate and important role within the family unit. It gives them the opportunity to see what some of that busy work is really all about. It can help them learn to build a better future for themselves, while understanding the value of your family budget now.

Teaching children about money shows that you value them, and that you trust them. What could be more bonding than that?

Mothering matters, and bonding with your children over money is great mothering and good bonding!

 

There is much more in-depth information provided by Amanda in her articles for Molly Green Magazine. Read the full article today and get your own membership with additional benefits here. 

Best-selling author Amanda van der Gulik has been homeschooling her  two children for over 11 years and is the founder of www.TeachingChildrenAboutMoney.com. Visit Amanda’s site today to grab your FREE copy of her eBook, Goal Setting for Families or her “The 6 Magical Piggy Banks” cartoon to enjoy together while you build that life-long special bond with your child using…money!

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Frugal living: ways to save money this year

frugal living

You may have heard the news – the all new Molly Green magazine has turned over a new leaf. We are spreading our wings to include homesteading, self-sufficient living, back yard farming, and all things home industry.

But, we are nothing if not a frugal bunch! And, in that spirit, I wanted to start our New Year off with a super frugal post to help you find ways to save money in 2014.

10 Ways to Save Money in the New Year:

  1. Fix it yourself – use the internet to watch video’s and read tutorials on how to fix various household items. Learn to stitch up clothing and make repairs to the things you use regularly.

2. Cut the Entertainment budget by finding frugal ways to play together.

3. Cook at Home & Take Advantage of Specials.

4.  Ask for a Discount! 

bowling for free

5.  Get a Discount on Children’s Activities

  • Volunteer your services to the organization for a discount on children’s sports when possible – certainly, you want to give of your time for free to help out, but you may be able to offer other services such as – photography, computer work, accounting, or other skilled work to save on sports and more for your family. Look for services they might normally have to pay for & fill in the gap where you are qualified. 
  • Set up a co-op or trade with other parents for sports and extracurricular clothing items. 
  • Take advantage of free programs like Kids Bowl Free

6.  Barter for Services. 

  • As with the above info on getting a discount on children’s extra-curricular activities – consider trading for other services as well. Think outside the box and look for needs that you can meet and then offer up your solutions to the problem in exchange for a repair or other service you cannot do yourself. Small businesses are great for this, but don’t count out the larger companies either. Big companies need endorsements, or reviews from consumers and are sometimes willing to trade for free products. Bloggers do this regularly. 

7. Grow Your Own. 

8.  Up-cycle 

9. Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners.

  • Simple ingredients can go a long way and can be used safely and inexpensively –  Baking Soda, Borax, Vinegar, Alcohol, Mild Dish Detergent, & Washing Soda are a few simple ingredients that can be used to clean almost anything. 
  • Get recipes from The Family Homestead here

10. Educate Yourself. 

Link up your own Frugal  ideas  and we will share them!

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Frugal Friday: Christmas is coming! Decorating on a dime

Oh the pretty Christmas lights and greenery! It is easy to get carried away. I LOVE Christmas and I just may have been known to go a little overboard in the decoration department for the occasion. Just maybe.

Last week, we started a series on frugal homemade Christmas gifts, buying handmade gifts, and frugal holiday decorating  - using items found in nature to set a pretty table. 

This week, we continue to help you get ready for Christmas with ways you can decorate on a dime – well, on a dollar, anyway.

 

dollar store Christmas treasures

 

As I was saying, I simply love LOVE love Christmas decorating, lights, music . . . and the cookies go a long way towards keeping me happy with this particular time of the year. Although, since I do feel it is important to keep my family focused on Christ, I enjoy taking the time as we decorate the tree, string the lights and do our crafts – to teach my children about what Christmas represents to our family.

One of the crafts we did together last year is the sweet little bird and  nest in the photograph below. I found a set of the little birds for $1 at Dollar Tree, and then found the little next with eggs – also for only $1. Score! We used a little wire from upcycled twist ties from our bread bags and packaging to attach them to the nests and placed them in an orderly random fashion around the tree.

dollar store bird and nest

 

It’s amazing how something as simple as that can make me so happy, but it does!

We found the sand dollars on the beach and used a paint brush to brush on some glue and then dipped the edges into a bowl of silver glitter. We used a bit of silver thread and a hot glue gun to attach a hanging loop on the back. After the glue and glitter has dried, you can seal the shell ornament with mod-podge or make your own mod-podge with good old fashioned white glue and a little water.

I’d love to see your Christmas decorations or your frugal crafts and gifts! Link up and share them and I’ll be sure to Pin them on one of our Pin boards.

Enter to win a full year membership to the all New Molly Green Magazine HERE

Don’t miss the Molly BOGO Christmas Bundle – see it HERE

 

frugal friday

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