Tag: homemaking

Is the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Really Worth It?

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure, click here.

ultimate homemaking bundle

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a collection of 106 ebooks and ecourses on creativity, faith, finances, home decor, cooking and meal planning, intentional living, marriage, motherhood, organizing and systems, recipes, self-care, and work-life balance.

Laura, you might be thinking, I am already overwhelmed just looking at that sentence.

I understand the feeling, and I was once a bundle skeptic myself. The key here is to not even attempt to use everything. Personally, I have no interest in some of the resources. Even so, it only takes using 3 or 4 ebooks or ecourses to start saving money.

Even better, there are 9 resources in the bundle that cost more than the bundle itself, so if you only used ONE of those, you would be saving money!

Today I’m going to walk you through what I’m really excited about in this bundle.

A Mom’s Guide to Better Photos: A Beginning Photography Class for Moms With Any Type of Camera (Normally $99.00)

I’m not a professional photographer, nor do I aspire to become one. I do have a cute (in my 100% biased opinion) little boy, and I do like taking pictures of him. Meg’s course is designed for people like me. Even if all you have is a smartphone, your photography skills will improve with this course. I’m really enjoying it!

Keep in mind that the entire Ultimate Homemaking Bundle costs $29.97. When you purchase it, you get this course, which is a $99 value, AND 105 other products!

Foundational 5+ Workout Course (Normally $19.95)

I was so excited to find this as a part of the bundle! While I lost my baby weight pretty quickly, having a 9 lb. baby took a toll on my stomach muscles. The Foundational 5+ course is designed to help women who have had children to strengthen their core. It’s great for women who have diastasis recti, which is a common condition where the muscles separate during pregnancy and do not go back together completely afterwards. I have a small diastasis myself, and it’s something that I’d like to work on healing. The workouts are short and efficient for busy moms!

FREE Meal Plans and Shopping Lists

One of the bonuses that you receive along with your bundle is a free one year membership to MollyGreen.com, which is a $29 value. I had never heard of MollyGreen.com until a few days ago, but I found a fun surprise as I was looking around the membership site.

When you go to the member home page after logging in, scroll down and click on “Build a Menu.” You can sign up to get a free meal plan with recipes and a shopping list delivered straight to your email. You will automatically be sent one every week for SEVEN weeks.

Since this is intended to just be a sample, you don’t have as many options as you do with a full paid Build a Menu membership, but it gives you a good idea if a meal planning service is right for you. You could even save the meal plans and shopping lists and use them later when you’re having a crazy week. The sample meal plans are in the “Dine on a Dime” category, though a paid Build a Menu membership offers options for people who eat Trim Healthy Mama, gluten free, paleo, allergy friendly, and more.

I’m so excited to use my free meal plans! As I’ve written before, I love meal planning, and this will make it that much easier. This would normally cost around $7.00

You might not be interested in all of the products in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. That’s totally okay. To be 100% honest, I’m not either.

But even if I only ever use these three things that I’ve mentioned, products that I absolutely LOVE: the bundle will have been worth it.

Adding up the photography class, the workout class, and the free meal plans, it would normally cost approximately $125.95.

The bundle is $29.97, and I also have access to 103 other awesome resources. That’s a $95.98 savings…even if I never touch any of the other products.

You might be thinking that there has to be a catch to this. How can this possibly be that great of a deal?

The key is that this bundle is only available for six days, from April 26 – May 1, 2017. After that, it will be gone forever. Each year’s bundle has totally different products. Click on the button below to view the full list of what’s included!

The Power of Homemaking Habits

cleaning habits

When I was first married, I was overwhelmed by keeping my home. Of course, the fact that I was pregnant and sick and operating with about half of my usual energy wasn’t helping, but I also had no routine.

I was operating under the incorrect idea that the key was to get things clean Once and For All. Unfortunately, that’s not how it actually works. People who have clean houses work at it, and they do boring tasks over and over. There is no way to escape this fact. Sadness.

The benefit of habits though, is that eventually they become second nature and you don’t have to actively think about them as much. I’ve reached this point with some household tasks, but definitely not all.

My husband and I will be celebrating our second anniversary this summer. I finally feel as if I have some level of control over my house. This is in large part due to some homemaking habits that I have established.

I always have a cardboard box for Goodwill donations. Always. No exceptions. I used to think that decluttering was the kind of thing where you went through your house and got rid of stuff every few months. What I’ve learned is that I’m constantly finding something else that needs to go to Goodwill. Alternatively, I’m always finding that my toddler has outgrown yet another article of clothing that needs to be packed away in a storage bin. We get sales flyers and junk mail all the time, and those have to be sorted, examined, and then tossed. The key is to deal with the clutter immediately.

The dishwasher is run once a day…about 90% of the time. I’m still working on this. Sometimes I try to justify not starting the dishwasher because there MIGHT be room for one more fork…but that’s really just procrastination. I need to stop that.

I load the washing machine every morning. I don’t actually do a load of laundry every single day, because we only have three people in our household and we don’t generate enough laundry to need to do it daily. However, the act of gathering the laundry and putting it in the washer allows me to stay on top of it. When laundry is piling up and making the hampers overflow, I get stressed. Stressed is not good.

I make my bed every day. It just makes the bedroom look nicer, and it doesn’t take long.

I make sure the bathroom counters are clear each morning. Not everyone does this, but it drives me crazy if there is makeup, shaving cream, razors, toothpaste, or anything else of that nature piled all over the bathroom counter.

My deep cleaning skills still need some work, but implementing these five tasks into my routines has improved the appearance of my home!

What cleaning tasks do you do every day?

Increasing Your Cleaning Motivation with Podcasts

cleaning motivation

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure, click here. 

I admit it: I don’t love cleaning.

According to my RAs in college and my husband, I’m fairly competent at it, but it just doesn’t bring me joy. Inviting people over seems to be the best way to get me motivated to clean. However, there is only so much of that one can do.

Before I got married, I’d always lived with my large family or in a dorm full of girls. There was always someone to chat with while I did mundane tasks such as cleaning. Once I got married, I started having a lot more alone time. Despite the fact that I’m a strong introvert, the silence just seemed unnatural.

I recently discovered the wonders of podcasts. I have no idea why I didn’t start listening to these sooner! You can listen to lectures on a wide variety of topics for free. Listening to an episode while I work on household tasks both breaks the silence and provides some brain stimulation. It’s a win all around.

A lot of cleaning experts will tell you to set a timer while you clean. Instead of doing that, I’ll start a 30 minute podcast and work on a cleaning project until the episode concludes. This has the same benefit as the traditional set-a-timer method, but it’s much more interesting.

Since I set my cleaning time as my podcast time, I almost look forward to cleaning. Almost.

My Top Podcasts

  • Homemaking Foundations – Jami Balmet hosts Homemaking Foundations, blogs at Young Wife’s Guide, and posts weekly video podcasts on YouTube. Did I mention that she has two sets of twin boys and a newborn baby girl? Okay, while I’m over here wondering how she manages all that, go check out her podcast. Seriously. I want to be more like Jami when I grow up. Jami got married young like I did, has boys (though more of them than I do), and loves books, so I can relate to her. Homemaking Foundations covers spiritual disciplines, freezer cooking, marriage, motherhood, goal setting, reading, and much more. It’s my favorite podcast.
  • Homemakers in Action – Like Jami, Becca Day runs a podcast, a blog and a YouTube channel. Phew. Becca has a really fun British acccent. Becca is a young wife and mother who chats about homemaking skills and how to manage your home, even if you aren’t a naturally talented homemaker. She brings hope and humor to women who are just starting out in their homemaking journeys. Homemakers in Action just launched recently, but I’ve enjoyed both of the episodes so far.
  • Politico’s Nerdcast – I have been a politics nerd for about nine years now. While I had to cut back my consumption of news media during the 2016 campaign, election, and aftermath, I do still like to get caught up periodically. The Nerdcast has more in-depth analysis than a standard news article or clip.
  • A Slob Comes Clean – I first discovered Dana K. White when I was a new homemaker dealing with a challenging pregnancy and fighting my exhaustion to keep my house clean. As someone who is also of a more creative bent, I relate to Dana’s personality. Though she is funny…I’m not really funny. If you want to listen to somebody give you a pep talk about cleaning while you’re cleaning, A Slob Comes Clean is the way to go. I also really like her ebook Drowning in Clutter.
  • Brilliant Business Moms – After a long hiatus, Brilliant Business Moms recently made a come back. Beth Anne does a Q&A format with moms who run businesses. If you run an Etsy shop, a blog, or even a brick and mortar business, you’ll enjoy the tips on business from people who understand the critical importance of balancing work and family life.

Do you listen to podcasts? What are some of your favorites?

 

Decluttering without the Angst

This post contains affiliate links. You can find my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting my site!

decluttering

Some people are naturally organized. Their motto is “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Their dishes are always done. They have effective routines in place. When the house is cluttered, it drives them crazy and they feel as if they can’t function.

Drowning in Clutter? (Don’t Grab a Floatie…Drain the Ocean!) by Dana K. White is for the rest of us.

I write a blog about homemaking. Please don’t think this means that I’m a perfect homemaker. I’m a work in progress. When I got married, I knew most of the basics of how to clean, but I struggled with when to clean. A lot of homemaking is doing the same things over and over again. The key here is consistency, and that’s something that has taken me about a year and a half to achieve.

As I worked towards keeping my house under control, I found Dana’s podcast. Ladies, Dana speaks to my soul. I think it might be the fact that we’re both former theatre people. For some reason, creativity and clutter issues seem to go together.

I never had to declutter the amount of stuff that she describes, largely because I discovered her tips early on in my adult life. Even so, her ideas are still helpful when decluttering a small or medium amount of stuff.

My favorite concept from Drowning in Clutter was ditching the Keep Box. Dana frequently says “Keep Boxes are Procrastination Boxes!” I was skeptical of that at first, but trying it revolutionized the way that I declutter. In a perfect world, I would be able to sit down and complete an entire decluttering project without any interruptions or distractions. I don’t live in a perfect world.

Even before I had a baby, I would get distracted by some other project. When I got distracted, I would leave my keep box in the middle of the floor. There it would sit, mocking me and making me trip when I returned to the room later. Sometimes it would sit for days before I quit procrastinating and put the contents away properly.

Using Dana’s method means that each item goes where it needs to go RIGHT NOW. You don’t dump everything on the floor. Instead, you take one item at a time and deal with only that item. Once that item has been handled, you move to the next item.

a slob comes clean

Drowning in Clutter contains numerous other decluttering strategies to help you conquer your clutter. This ebook is unique because it’s written by someone who actually struggles with home management. It’s not a book for people who adore and enjoy cleaning and organizing. If you’re in that camp and just want to take your decluttering to the next level, I would suggest The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo instead.

Drowning in Clutter is only $5.00, and can be purchased by clicking here.

What strategies do you use for decluttering?

Homemaking in Survival Mode

homemaking in survival mode

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure, click here.

We all will have seasons of life where we go into survival mode. Most people are in survival mode to at least some extent right after a new baby is born. A surgery, a busy time at work, or a move can also throw us into a sense of being overwhelmed. (And sometimes, all three of those things happen around the same time…ahhhh!)

My goal is to think of homemaking as something that I do to bring glory to God. As an outworking of that, I really do try to stay on top of things, but sometimes life happens. I have routines, but they fly out the window during a crisis.

For example, April – July 2016 was a time of survival mode. Tigger had colic, I was struggling with health issues of my own, and we moved to another state. If I put the baby in the crib so I could use the restroom, he would scream and be inconsolable for about a half hour. As I’m sure you can imagine, my house did not look that great. We did not starve and we wore clean clothes, but that was about it for a while.

For my type A self, it was hard to accept that I didn’t have it together. “I only have one kid!” I thought. “Some people have seven or eight kids and they manage to cook dinner for real and clean their toilets!” I had to remind myself that this was a season, and that it would pass eventually. After my son outgrew colic, we were able to settle into a better routine.

Here’s how I managed when I was in survival mode:

  • Set priorities. For our family, this was avoiding having to eat out too often. To achieve that, every Saturday my husband would take care of the baby and I would prep freezer meals. Each meal would go in a gallon ziploc bag. Every morning during the week, I would dump a thawed freezer meal into the crockpot and let it cook. We survived off of crockpot dinners for months. I missed “cooking for real,” but it got the job done for that season. It was definitely healthier and cheaper than takeout.
  • Simplify. We used a lot of paper plates for the first month or so after the baby was born. Normally that feels wasteful to me. It’s okay. After a few weeks, we didn’t need them any more.
  • Delegate. I usually do the bulk of the housework in my household, but my husband did a good bit of laundry for a while there when we were in survival mode. I had to accept that I needed help and it was okay. If all else fails, my husband WILL make sure the laundry is done. He’s awesome like that. 😉
  • Let. It. Go. As women, sometimes we look at others and wonder how they do it all. Here’s the secret: they DON’T do it all. We all have to decide what is most important for our families right now.

How do you manage when life gets crazy?

How I’m (Finally) Keeping Laundry Under Control

Ah, laundry. The endless, endless cycle. I used the once a week method during college. It still worked when I was a newlywed…then my son was born. If you’re a mom, you know babies create, shall we say, urgent laundry.

Urgent laundry does not need to sit for five or six days. Upon this discovery, I moved to washing clothes whenever I had a chance. “Whenever I had a chance” was not often enough. In my year and a half of homemaking, I’ve found that I really need some structure. If I plan to get to a task “some time,” then it never actually happens. Alternatively, it does happen, but it doesn’t happen consistently. Consistency is the key to success.

I’ve experimented with a few different laundry routines, and I’ve finally settled on one that works well for our family of three. I do one load of laundry every day, except for Sunday. Realistically, doing any household project other than cooking and the dishes on Sunday just isn’t going to happen. We’re busy with multiple church services.

Even with skipping Sundays, doing a load each of the other days keeps the laundry pile to a manageable size. I’m more likely to start on a project if I can see myself making significant progress.

I alternate between doing dark loads and light loads. I used to do a separate load for towels, but I don’t any more. Our towels are medium colors and can go in either type of load when needed.

Steps to Conquering Laundry:

  1. Start the washing machine with a load of light clothes.
  2. Move the light clothes to the dryer.
  3. Place the dark clothes in the washing machine. DO NOT START IT YET.
  4. Fold the light clothes as soon as they are done in the dryer.
  5. In the evening, place dark clothes in the washing machine as soon as you change out of them.
  6. The next day, put the detergent in the washing machine and start it. Your dark clothes should already be there.
  7. Repeat the entire process.

Using this method, nothing sits in the hamper for more than 48 hours. Some items never make it to the hamper at all, and instead go directly to the laundry area. The increased efficiency has transformed laundry from an overwhelming task to a simple daily habit.

How do you handle laundry in your home?

One Simple Step to Being a Better Hostess

food allergy awareness

According to Food Allergy Research & Education, approximately 15 million people in the United States have food allergies. The eight most common allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. The number of people with allergies has increased sharply since 1997. It’s highly likely that someone in your life is dealing with an allergy.

This issue has personal significance to me. My younger brother has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. I vividly remember sitting in the emergency room when I was 7 after he was first exposed to peanuts through a free cookie at the deli. My brother outgrew most of his numerous other allergies, but the most severe one has remained. While I have never struggled with food allergies personally, I have given up dairy for the last 8 months because my nursing baby cannot tolerate it.

Every time I have people over, I ask one simple question: “Do you have any allergies or special dietary needs?” If the person does not, then we move on without any further commentary. If the person does, however, he or she typically appreciates the opportunity to communicate their needs without feeling as if they are being “high-maintenance.” (In my opinion, doing what is necessary to keep yourself from going into anaphylactic shock is not being “high-maintenance,” but unfortunately people receive that label sometimes).

Even if your prospective guest does not have allergies, it can be helpful to know about other restrictions as well. For example, you may want to prepare a sugar-free dessert option if one of your guests is a diabetic. Small gestures can go a long way towards making your guest feel more at home.

While this step may seem small, it is truly just another way to be considerate. Ultimately, hospitality is about serving other people and showing them the love of Christ.