Monday, August 18, 2008

Caring for your home starting with . . . The Kitchen

I am starting this series because my sisters are getting married within a week of each other in less than 2 months. I wanted to put a book together to help them in their new homemaking adventures.

The kitchen is the place that I spend most of my time. There is the cooking, the baking, the cleaning, and of course, the feeding. I am going to start with cleaning the kitchen, because, let's face it - who wants to cook in a dirty kitchen? You will need a to make a list of what needs to be cleaned when. Start with the daily, then the weekly, and then move onto the monthly.

I. Cleaning

Pick up clutter
Empty/Load dishwasher
Wipe counter tops
Sweep floor/Wet Swiffer floor as well

Wipe down cabinets/Clean Appliances
Clean stove/burners (this might actually be more monthly)
Mop floor
Wipe out/clean out fridge

The Fly Lady is also a good place to start to organize your cleaning schedule.

How to Speed Clean your Kitchen by Real Simple online is another great resource.

Odds and Ends about Cleaning your Kitchen:

Cleaning the microwave made easy - Take a glass container, fill it with 2-3 cups of water or vinegar and microwave for 5 minutes. Take the water/vinegar out and wipe down the microwave. The steam helps to loosen any particles that have hardened and it is very easy to clean after that. I put the glass plate in my dishwasher to wash.

II. Menu Planning

I do not profess to be an expert here. I will just share what I do and I will also share a few links from others that do it differently, for you to choose from. You can see all of my past menus here.

First of all, menu planning is a must if you want to save money and not pull your hair out everyday. What I do is to keep a list of staples and pantry items that I use all the time. I try to not run out of these items. I asked my husband to name some meals that he likes that he could eat almost every week. I then made themes - 5 of them. Basically it is a master list of meals.

Monday Stir Fry/Main Dish Salad/Freezer Meal*

Tuesday Meat/Poultry**, mashed potatoes, corn and salad

Wednesday Fish/Lentils/Meatless (Chickpea/black bean burgers)

Thursday Italian Night*** (usually a meatless night)

Friday Homemade Pizza/Calzones (Alfredo or regular)

*I always have 6 freezer meals on hand to choose from, from our OAMC Cooking Club.
**This will be a choice of meat from the freezer or chicken that I got on sale or meatloaf made ahead and frozen.
***This can be Lasagna, Fettuccine Alfredo, Manicotti or Garlic Butter Pasta

I do try to make things ahead and freeze them as much as possible.

III. Grocery Shopping

If you are using coupons or want to, go here on Today's Daily Dose to see a wonderful post my friend just did regarding coupon questions and answers.

If you do not want to or cannot use coupons, Money Saving Mom has some good tips for grocery shopping without using coupons. Basically, what I have been trying to do is make as many things from scratch as possible. When I am about to run out of something (such as Hershey's chocolate syrup), I do some research and see if I could make it from scratch with the things that I have on hand. If we like it then I won't buy it from the store again. Basically, I am trying to find a way to rarely enter a grocery store (wish me luck).

On that note, if you do shop at Aldi please go to Mom Advice and see her Aldi Menu Planner.

I also really enjoyed Heavenly Homemaker's "Getting Real with Food" series. You can read her answer to a question that I e-mailed her.

There are many ways to menu plan. I have tried a lot of them. I find that the way I am doing it now works well for me. Some people plan their menus around what sales are going at the grocery stores. Some people plan their menus a month in advance. Some people do the Once A Month Cooking plan (which I do some of). There really isn't a wrong way to do menu planning (unless you just don't do it). You need to find out what works best for you and your family.

And a great menu planning resource is to check out's Menu Plan Monday. You will get all sorts of ideas and great recipes.

I find that I enjoy the time I spend in my kitchen. I really enjoy it when it is clean and I have a plan. Now, it isn't always clean and there are times when the best plans don't work. The point is that you will be spending most of your time in the kitchen so make the best of that time!

For more kitchen tips and all sorts of wonderful recipes, visit Tammy's recipes. She has wonderful kitchen tips.


  1. Flylady rocks! I've been doing it for almost a month now and I am amazed!

  2. That is a good idea to put a book together for your sisters. You have some good tips.

  3. What great tips! I love the idea to try to avoid the grocery store by making things yourself. Please share your discoveries!

  4. What a good idea, I am the oldest, but wish I had an older sister to help me figure things out. I am still trying to figure everything out. Your blog is great, we have a lot of the same intrests, I will be back.

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog! This is wonderful advice. I'll have to remember to clean my microwave this way!

  6. You are so sweet! I think this is a wonderful idea!

    P.S. Have you asked your readers yet what they think about a joint blog??

  7. Great tips! I'm a FlyLady fan, too. Your sisters will love the book you're making for them!

  8. What a great idea for your sisters.

    I noticed you have meatless recipes in your weekly menu plan. You must know that cutting back on meat just 15% can not only help combat obesity, but it can also lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. And of course there are cheaper forms of protein. I work for a nonprofit public health campaign called Meatless Monday. Our website ( has lots of recipes.

    Your sisters are lucky to have a wise older sister to help them get started running a household.


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