Saturday, March 1, 2014

Leader Enterprise - Feb. 26, 2014 - Household Tips to Help you keep your sanity


Being a 'domestic engineer', I have always enjoyed sharing household tips to make life easier and to help you maintain to stay sane! Hope you’ll consider these ideas for use in your daily routines.

Free up closet and floor space by storing occasionally-used items like seasonal clothes, wrapping paper or keepsakes in plastic tubs under your bed. Use the perimeter of your bed to store shoes or use shoe racks in your closet.

Little routines make a big difference. Toss clothes into the hamper when you take them off. If possible, use a multi bin hamper so clothes will 'automatically' be sorted. Be sure to teach your children to utilize their hampers too.

Maximize your cleaning time by using versatile products like glass and multi-surface cleaning wipes - they can be used from surface to surface, and room to room.To save steps as you clean, keep a plastic grocery bag with you to carry items that belong in other rooms. If you do this one thing, you'll be amazed at how quickly you can get things in order.

(My favorite cleaning tool? A Streak free (name brand) microfiber cloth. Used damp on windows or mirrors; no drying required. The surface dries spotless. No cleaning product needed either. This 'magic' cloth can be used from surface to surface also. Wash and re-use. A.MA.ZING! I purchase mine online.)  

Do you have clutter throughout your home? (Who doesn’t, right?) Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes a day, then choose one task - a cluttered drawer or a messy desktop - and spend time putting things in their rightful place. All those ‘little’ spots of time add up, and make things seem more manageable. Enlist your children to help put things away. It’s important for them to have responsibilities too.

Purchase a few inexpensive baskets or plastic tubs to get yourself organized. I have many smaller tubs in my pantry and cupboards so I don’t have things falling on top of each other. It makes it much easier to find that bottle of salad dressing or envelope of seasoning that I’m looking for. Have a 'Fix-it' tub or drawer to keep your stapler, glue, screwdriver, scissors, etc. handy. Another for envelopes, stamps, return address labels, calculator, etc. 

Get rid of worn, or duplicate kitchen utensils, and clothes that no one has worn for some time. The less you have, the easier it is to keep things under control. Get rid of those appliances that don’t get used often, or at least move them out of the kitchen. You can help someone less fortunate by giving those things away.

Keep a running list on front of your fridge to write down items as they run low, or run out. I taught my children to do this for me, and I didn’t always have to be looking over their shoulder. I also begin writing the list at the bottom of the page, instead of the top. That way you can write out 3 or 4 items, and tear off the bottom of the page, instead of using the whole page for a few things on the list. (Some have told me it’s a left/right brain thing!)

If you haven’t done so already, decide to become a recycler. I’m amazed at how many garbage bags of plastic, cardboard and cans I fill in a month’s time! Create a box or bag to place those items in, and make it easily accessible so all family members can contribute to the process. You’ll not only reduce waste, but it will help keep things more organized around the home.

Walt Disney once said "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing".

If you're like me, you stock up on cake mixes when they're on sale. Rarely do I ever bake a cake according to cake mix instructions. I prefer making other things from them, so am sharing a few'other'ideas to use up those cake mixes. I have over 50 recipes using cake mixes at my blog. 

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP OAT COOKIES

1 (18 ozs) chocolate cake mix
1 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 c. old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. M & M candies 

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl,combine cake mix, baking powder, oil, eggs, vanilla & oats in a large bowl; beat with mixer until blended evenly. Stir in chocolate chips and M & M's. Drop by rounded Tablespoonsful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen good-sized cookies 


LEMON-POPPY SEED BREAD(Or Muffins)

1 (18 ozs) box lemon cake mix 
(pudding included works best)
4 eggs
1/2 c.oil
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. lemon extract, optional
2 Tb. poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 4 - 3" X 5" mini bread loaves or line 24 muffin cups with liners. 

In large bowl, combine cake mix and eggs; mix well. Add oil, water and extract (if using); blend til smooth. Stir in poppy seeds. Fill prepared pans or muffin cups. Bake muffins for about 20 minutes, bread for 30 minutes or until when top springs back lightly when touched. 

Glaze:(optional)
2-3 Tb.lemon juice (or milk)
2 c. powdered sugar
In small bowl, combine and drizzle over bread or muffins. 


LUSCIOUS LEMON SHEET CAKE 



1 (18 ozs) pkg.lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1 (15 ozs) can lemon pie filling
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 15" x 10" x 1" jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides). In large mixing bowl, beat cake mix and eggs until well blended. Stir in pie filling and beat until smooth. Pour into prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool; frost.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
1/2 c. butter or margarine
4 ozs (lite) cream cheese,softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
chopped toasted pecans, optional
In small mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Blend well. Spread over cooled cake. Sprinkle with pecans if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Yield: 24 - 28 servings.