My Favorite Organization Hacks

These days the internet is full of ideas and tips to improve your life and make every day things easier. Sometimes life’s little details make simple tasks such a pain, so today I want to share with you all my favorite organization hacks from around the web that I either have tried or want to try. So stay with me, these hacks can change your life for the better! They might even motivate you to get more of the things on your to-do list done and out of your hair.

Add-Rod-Under-Sink

Spray Bottle Rod

This is one of the hacks I have implemented in my house and you probably should to. It may sound silly, but I smile every time I open the doors beneath my sink and see everything just hangin’ out waiting to be used.

Magazine-Holder-Becomes-Kitchen-Organizer

Magazine Holder=Kitchen Organizer

In my cupboard, my rolls of foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, and ziploc bags are strewn about in the back. This is one of the organization hacks I’ll be using ASAP.

Bread-Tags-Distinguish-Wires

Bread Tag Labels

Another organization hack I can proudly claim to have implemented! I shouldn’t even need to explain why this is extremely useful. Jumbled cords are a nightmare.

 Ladder-Side-Table

Step Ladder=Bedside Table

I envy those people out there who have such a creative mind, particularly who ever came up with this idea. I literally would’ve never thought of it. It looks surprisingly perfect.

 Magnetic-Strip-Organizer

Magnetic Strip Organizer

Instead of digging through your bathroom drawers trying to find your tweezers and such, stick em’ all to your wall on a magnetic strip. It could save you 5 minutes of time and sanity.

Pegboard-Organizer

Laundry Room Pegboard

Now this is a project I can get behind. Not only does it make accessing your cleaning supplies easier, it also looks extremely cute.

Shoe-Organization

Wall Crate Storage Bins

Seriously, this is such a great idea! I can hardly stand it. Forget shoving your families shoes in baskets and bins that you have to dig through just to find some slip ons to go check your mailbox.

Small-Items-Organizer

Ribbon Organizer

When Christmas rolls around, you’ll really wish you paid attention to this spectacular hack.

Velcrow-Stuffed-Animal-Organizer

Velcro Stuffed Animal Storage

If your home is like my home, you might need to add on a whole other room to your house due to the abundance of stuffed animals. Applying velco strips to your wall for light weight stuffed animals is an amazing idea, and so simple. It’s also a lot cheaper than adding another room to your house.

Ice-Cube-Tray-Organizer

Ice Cube Tray Organizer

Considering I have a bunch of old ice cube trays laying around that I no longer need due to getting a new refrigerator, the next time I get some spare time I’m going through all my old tangled up jewelry and doing THIS.

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Healthy Recipes for Picky Kids

Having picky kids is one of the biggest frustrations I have to deal with as a mother, and I know many others moms have to deal with this annoying problem as well. Sometimes I’ll find myself just giving up and letting them eat the same few meals every single day. Then I snap out of it and realize that I’m only enabling their nonsensical pickiness and go back to opening the door and force-introducing them to new foods. Here are some of my favorite things to feed my kids that have helped ease them towards a more open minded direction.

Frozen-Chocolate-Covered-Bananas

Frozen Banana Bites Recipe

These are amazing! You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them either. These delicious frozen banana bites are super simple to make and the variations you can make are endless. Pictured above, the bananas have been dipped in chocolate, but I’ve covered them in vanilla yogurt before and they were just as great. Also, don’t forget the toppings! Granola, crushed peanuts, crushed almonds, etc. all make excellent choices. You can also make peanut butter and banana sandwiches before the dipping and freezing. Breakfast or dessert? Who says they can’t be both!?

Carrot-Cake-Oatmeal-Cookies

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

Ok, now these might only work if you leave out the fact that there are carrots involved in these yummy cookies. Sometimes when introducing foods that my kids would initially be turned off by, I avoid even letting them look at the food until they try it. How does that even work, you ask? I tell them to close their eyes and open their mouths because I have a surprise treat for them. It works sometimes. #Don’tJudgeMe

Lunch-Box-Kabobs

Lunch Box Kabobs Recipe

This has got to be one of my all time favorite things to pack in my kids lunches. They even love to join in and help make them! Literally anything goes with this recipe, use lunch meats, cheese, veggies, or make kabobs entirely out of fruit!

Veggie-Packed-Pizza-Rolls

Veggie Packed Pizza Rolls Recipe

If your kids don’t like pizza, you might want to consider them seeing a therapist. (Just kidding) Seriously though, I don’t know how anyone can not love this recipe! I always feel like a sneaky little ninja when I pull off feeding my kids seemingly unhealthy foods when in reality they contain a whole lot of secret veggies. Bwahaha

Honey-Teriyaki-Chicken

Honey Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

Yummy! My kids love teriyaki bowls and they also come with a wide range of possible variations. This chicken is great plain but even better on a bed of rice, white or brown. Feel free to steam any of the vegetables that your kids dare to eat to make this meal well rounded and complete.

This hand full of recipes are sure to motivate you and get your kids kickstarted into your foodie bootcamp. After all, they helped me out a ton. Good luck!

I Used To Be Cool

viral-motherhood-challenge-causes-controversyAs I sat on the edge of the bathtub, rinsing the poop off my ten month old after a massive blow out – I thought to myself; “I used to be cool.”  When did I turn into the woman that is at peace and in love with the chubby butt I’m washing versus being the woman whose main goal was getting VIP into the best clubs in Las Vegas?

Often times I catch a glance of myself in the mirror – hair in a ponytail, minimal make up, wearing my glasses again because I don’t have time to refill my contact order and I think – where’s that cool girl?

I believe that in Motherhood there are things we are going to inevitably lose when we are focusing so much on keeping a household together.  I think some things shouldn’t be missed and others will always be missed. Like, I miss my pre baby stomach – but not my every weekend partying habits. I miss the beautiful stilettos that I used to wear but not the pack of cigarettes I had tucked in my matching clutch. I miss my alone time, reading a new book weekly, shopping, having uninterrupted phone conversations and getting in my car and driving anywhere I want at any given time. But these are the things that are worth giving up to be called “Mom”. You see, we can get all of that back – the years of raising children are something we will never get back.

How do we keep a piece of ourselves under all that mothering?

Just this week, after an 8 hour work day, home cooked breakfast and dinner, the clean up to both meals and some basic house chores – I looked in the living room and saw an empty bag of donuts, dirty socks thrown around, Xbox controllers and games strung everywhere and I lost it. “I AM NOT A MAID!” Why can’t I be seen? Why am I just a fixture at the sink? Washing machine? Behind the wheel of the car? I understand children don’t get it – I didn’t get it either, until I was a Mom. But, I’m more than a dishwasher, clean clothes folder, taxi cab driver, bill payer and butt wiper. I love the theater, music, books, dancing, photography, and great food with adult company. So – how can we have it all?

It’s so very important to keep pieces of yourself, to hold on to them with all of your might, tuck them away if need be; but don’t lose the parts of you that make you ….you.

Here is a list of things to keep a bit of yourself through this amazing journey of parenting:

  • Mini shopping “sprees”:

You don’t always have to purchase your makeup at the local grocery store. Schedule some time to break away, get a full face makeover and then drop some dough on high end product that makes you feel beautiful. Check with local department stores or specialty make up stores and ask when they’re running promotions so you can get a free gift with purchase too.

  • Don’t share your snacks:

That’s right Moms, you don’t have to share! Pick up your favorite sweet and shove your face (before you pick up your kids) and laugh to yourself of how fun it is to be a little sneaky.

  • Schedule adult time:

Make a goal of once a month getting out without kids. Whether for date night, couple’s night, girl’s night or even some alone time – get away from being a Mom. I tell my oldest all of the time that Mommy needs “me” time so I can get a break and be a better Mom.

  • Take a class:

This can be exercise, hobby or college course. It’s perfect because it’s a way to develop yourself in the areas that you are passionate about.

Regardless of what it you choose to do – do something. It’s true, when you have children you lose who you were. But, you gain an entire new identity and with balance between the woman you want to be and the mother you want to be; you can redefine and work towards being the best version of yourself.

Oh, and I found that cool girl. Driving down the road, having a dance party in the car, my eight year old looks at me with a big smile and says “I Love You Mom.”

Who needs Vegas?

 

 

Eliminating Kids Clutter: Unique Storage Ideas

Every parent knows that having kids comes with an excessive amount of STUFF. Of course, there are the essentials that we all think about prior to them being born: diapers, wipes, teething rings, pacifiers, onesies, etc, etc…and then, all of a sudden they’re accumulating a plethora of toys. More than we ever could’ve imagined. It only gets worse as they get older and the amount of clutter in your home really reaches its peak once they start going to school..but before I have a mini panic attack just thinking about it, I’m going to redirect us all back in to our happy places (or at least mine) by sharing a few super sweet and unique storage ideas for all the junk we dodge stepping on daily.

Stuffed-Animal-Storage

Oh how I love Pinterest! Don’t we all though? I stumbled upon this cute little stuffed animal zoo and I couldn’t be more pleased with an idea for stuffed animal storage. I’m probably going to try to start building this ASAP. Veetje

Toy-Car-Storage

Have you ever stepped on little toy cars before? If not, lucky you! If so, I feel your pain. It’s certainly not fun. If you don’t have a fancy custom made garage for all those suckers, then parking them on a magnetic knife rack could be the next best idea. Again, I want to do this ASAP. PureWow

Book-Storage

Looks like I just added one more thing to my to-do list. Bookcases are totally over rated. It’s so much more fun to see the front cover of books on display, and utilizing wall space does wonders for a room, elongating the walls and making it feel more roomy. Due-Home

Phew, I feel so much better now. Time to get to work!

Crock Pot Corned Beef & Cabbage

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I’m all about making life easier and this recipe does exactly just that.  I stumbled upon this just in time for St. Patrick’s Day and wanted to share in time to get all of the ingredients.

Skinnytaste.com has many recipes just like this for the busy parent who still appreciates a great home cooked meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs lean corned beef brisket, all fat trimmed off
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 tsp whole peppercorns

Directions:

In a 5-6 qt crock pot, place brisket, carrots, parsnips, pearl onions, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns and 3 cups of water. Cover and cook on high 4 hours.

Add cabbage, cook on high 1 hour 20 minutes more.

Remove meat, slice and serve with mashed potatoes or for a healthy substitute, cauliflower puree.

Enjoy!

 

The Horror of the Wrong Housekeeper

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I am convinced that nobody in this world knows you better than your housekeeper.   I mean, think about it; they see every single corner of your house, your living space, the walls of everything that defines you – and they come back time and time again, taking it all in and keeping all your “dirty” little secrets.

But, to have the wrong person in the position – it’s the worst kind of horror.

Several years ago, I went against my gut and hired a family member of one of my employees. My new housekeeper, let’s just call her Sarah; went above and beyond my expectations. She was a go-getter that did things I didn’t know were even options, like ironing and hemming my clothes.

Well, her upselling skills started to feel a little pushy. She insisted on folding my laundry – which would make anyone uncomfortable but still not the worst part of this relationship. She insisted on taking my clothes home to complete the needed alterations, for extra fees.  Still – I took these opportunities at getting more help with my personal chores.

One night, I came home and Sarah was finishing up folding my laundry. My folded clothes were sitting in neat and tidy piles on top of my freshly made bed.  After some small talk with Sarah, I offered to help put away the piles.  Watching her clean my house was becoming uncomfortable; especially with a pile of my panties sitting smack in the middle.  I grabbed the pile of my folded panties and in that moment, where I already was mortified– she made it worse:

“I don’t know how you’re single with the nice panties you wear.”

I can’t make this up.

What do you do when someone says that? Okay, maybe you would have stood up for yourself, I’m not that assertive.  I awkwardly giggled and blanked out the rest of our visit as I kept playing the footage of what happened over and over again.

Guess what? That’s not why I fired her. You would think that was why – but it wasn’t until she showed up to my work to drop off my hemmed pants, interrupting a one-on-one with a staff member.  I was mortified!  You want to know why, because I didn’t want my staff to know I had a housekeeper.  That’s as private as what kind of panties I wear.

Sarah was shocked when I let her go.  I was relieved.

Although this story is light and fun – I learned quickly how horribly wrong hiring an individual could be. Below is a checklist of things to consider when deciding if you should hire someone individually or go through a professional company:

  • Scheduling: If for some reason your individual does not show – then more often than not, your house isn’t getting cleaned. At a professional establishment, they have other staff members that can fill in shifts to keep a permanent schedule with you.
  • Taxes: If it is determined that you are the employer of the individual you hire (versus them being a license and bonded contractor) – you may be required to withhold pay to be able to pay their Medicare, Federal Income and Social Security Tax (you can contact the IRS with questions). This will require you to also secure the proper paperwork for a new employee such as Employment Verification Form I-9.
  • Liability: Who is liable for broken or stolen items? What if your housekeeper falls on your property?  Professional companies have insurance to cover these incidents.
  • Cleaning supplies: Typically if a housekeeper is an employee or contractor they require you to supply the cleaning supplies.

The benefits of hiring a professional service tend to outweigh the savings of a direct personal hire. In addition to what most professional companies provide in a professional service, Maid Marvelous requires a background check and often a drug test at hire to protect their customers even further!

When deciding who will be cleaning your home, give us a call for a free consultation to review our services and prices!

 

 

 

Spring Forward Means Spring Cleaning

Spring-Cleaning-Window-Treatments

#springforward March 13th, 2016 at 2:00 am!

It is believed that Ben Franklin proposed daylight savings as a way to conserve the use of candles since there would be less hours of darkness. The idea wasn’t accepted until the energy crisis during World War I when our country was looking for ways to conserve energy.
Whether or not you believe that there is a need for daylight savings – below are reasons to believe in Spring Cleaning.

Historically, the event of spring cleaning was done after a long dark winter where houses were lit by fires and candles (they could have definitely benefited from SAD light therapy). After a long winter, closed up in a house to shut out the winter days – spring time was when families came together to make their home fresh and clean again. All family members who survived the harshness of winter would get together and place every piece of furniture and clothing outside on a warm and dry day. Part of the family would then scrub the walls and floors and every corner of the home while the other family members would take to the outside to air out linens and wash the soot and ash left on the furniture from the fireplace. Every little detail of spring cleaning was attended to.

Today, spring cleaning is nothing less than a daunting task for our busy society. Most of us no longer need to remove ash from our furniture after the winter months – although; the extra hours of daylight shining through the windows bring attention to the dust bunnies that have gathered together under furniture and in the corners of every room. Rather than needing to air out linen, we tend to need to organize our linen closest.

Even though we don’t have coal-burning stoves we still need to clean and air out our homes from the trapped cleaning chemicals, waxed floors and microfiber in the home. This is good to do on a warm and dry day. Pull out your comforters, quilts, blankets and even mattress covers and let hang in the sun for a good 24 hours to kill off all dust mites. If you’re really up to it, your mattress could definitely use a good airing out as well.

The next step is to get started on cleaning your home from top to bottom (if this sounds like a horrible idea – contact Maid Marvelous as this is our area of expertise).

Throw your doors and windows wide open, put on some great music and get started on sweeping and vacuuming every corner of your house. It’s amazing what a difference some fresh air will do for a home that has been closed up all winter.

For the next step of your spring cleaning list, I hope you have been keeping fit over the winter months as you will want to move the stove and refrigerator to sweep and mop the floor underneath these appliances.
Clean out your microwave by taking one lemon; halved, combined with water, cook on high for ten minutes in a microwave safe bowl. Then take a dishcloth and wipe down the racks, walls and ceiling. If there needs to be a second cleaning, mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1/2 cup of warm water – when all finished add more water to your bowl of lemons and run for another ten minutes to get rid of the smell of vinegar.

Now for the windows:
Dust and vacuum the drapes, blinds, and shades. Wash the windows inside and out. Again, a mixture of white vinegar and warm water is as good as any commercial cleaner. After all of this I’m sure you are going to be ready for a break but don’t give up before checking the following:

  • Check the batteries in your smoke detectors
  • Dusk ceiling fan blades and any chandeliers
  • Remove clutter from your closets (it’s a good rule of thumb that if you have items you haven’t used in 6-12 months, it’s time to pack up and donate)

After all the hard work – sit down and kick your feet up, taking in the result of all of your hard work. By cleaning out your home you have just accomplished the following:

Increased Productivity: With a clean and organized house, you will be more productive in your daily activities! Maintain the organization by committing to get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last 6-12 months.

Made Your Home More Healthy: A good spring cleaning can help you avoid allergy symptoms, according to a study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAII). Removing allergens from the home can make you feel healthier.

Spring Cleaning Makes You Happier: Studies have shown that having a clean and tidy home make people happier – and cleaning to your favorite music can only make it more fun.
Reduction of Stress: By keeping your personal space organized and clean, you reduce stress. If the cleaning gets to be too much, there’s no shame in getting help in keeping your home clean.

Helps You Stay Focused: For people who make a point of keeping the clutter out of the home – they are able to free up the brain for more essential decision-making, according to a study by the American’s Anxiety Disorder Center. Instead of worrying about the buildup of home chores, you are now able to focus on more important things.

Don’t forget that at Maid Marvelous we have trained professionals that can help you with any stage of your spring cleaning, or can come afterwards and help you maintain the upkeep of your home.

Happy National Popcorn Lover’s Day

In honor of National Popcorn Lover’s Day we want to offer you three of the best popcorn recipes we could find!

popcorn-butter-parmesan_300

Popcorn With Brown Butter and Parmesan

Ingredients

  1. 1 3.5-ounce package microwave popcorn or 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  2. 3tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 3tablespoons grated Parmesan
  4. kosher salt

 Directions
  1. Pop the popcorn according to the package directions.
  2. Brown the butter: Melt the butter in a skillet or small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl or stir the butter with a wooden spoon as it starts to foam and sputter. Remove the butter from the heat as soon as it begins to turn golden brown and smells nutty, about 1 minute.
  3. Drizzle over the popcorn. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and ¼ teaspoon salt and toss well.

 

hallo-popcorn-bars-ictcrop_gal

Marshmallow  Popcorn Bars

Ingredients

  1. 2tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  2. 1/2cup popcorn kernels or one 3.5-ounce package plain microwave popcorn
  3. 1 10-ounce bag marshmallows

 Directions

  1. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pop the popcorn according to the package directions.
  2. Melt the butter and marshmallows in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Fold in the popcorn until coated. Press into the prepared dish and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into 24 bars.

 

caramel-popcorn_300

Nutted Popcorn Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 8cups popped popcorn
  2. 2 cups pecan halves
  3. 1 cup unbalanced almonds
  4. 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  5. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 1/2 cup sugar
  8. 1 cup light corn syrup
  9. 1/2 cup butter
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla

     Directions
    1. Heat oven to 250° F. Combine the popcorn, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chili powder, and cinnamon on 1 or 2 large baking sheets and place in the oven to warm through.
    2. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a medium saucepan and heat to boiling. Without stirring, cook over medium-high heat about 10 minutes or until the syrup turns a rich brown and a few drops of it form stiff threads in a cup of cold water. Stir in the vanilla.
    3. Remove baking sheet from oven and pour the syrup over the popcorn. Toss quickly with a spoon. Cool and break into pieces.

     

 

 

 

“If You Don’t Have a Housekeeper, You Are a Housekeeper”

landscape-1427394080-cleaning-productsOver a year ago, my three best girlfriends and I were at  dinner which comprised of life updates, over twenty years of inside jokes,  incredible poke, seared tuna and of course plenty of glasses of wine.

Surrounded by my favorite ladies I confessed my frustration of always having a dirty house despite that I was always cleaning – that was when Rae gifted the following advice:

“If you don’t have a housekeeper, you are a housekeeper.”

As a successful realtor, Rae had recently attended a business seminar and one of the presenters shared that advice with a roomful of agents.  That one line would now change my own chaotic life.  Looking at the other two ladies, I realized I was the only one of the four who didn’t have a housekeeper – which made me the only housekeeper at dinner that Friday night.

How did I have time to be a housekeeper?  I have a full time career, am a single mother, world traveler, pet owner and apparently the messiest friend in our circle.  I chose in that moment to resign as a housekeeper.

You too need to resign or at least go to part-time, and here are reasons everyone could benefit from help:

  1. You have a full time job: After working forty-hours a week, the last thing you want to do is come home and clean.  Your time is precious; free some of it up by hiring a housekeeper.  Even if you only get help 1-2 times a month, you’ll be able to enjoy some of your favorite activities.
  1. You’re the hostess with the mostess: Until I started using a housekeeper, I couldn’t remember the last time I had friends over. Days and hours would be spent cleaning my house so then when I entertained guest;  I would find myself having anxiety over the mess being made.  Now, I’m here to tell you to entertain away!  Once you hire a housekeeper they can help you before and after your events so you will be able to actually enjoy the times you have company.
  1. Put your family first: We all know that kids grow up too fast and that missed moments are the worst.  Take the hours you would be cleaning and use that time for date night, one-on-one time with your children or event take yourself on a date.  If you already have a full life schedule, housework is probably being neglected or taking quality time away from your family.  So, today I’m giving you a get out of housekeeping pass so you can pack up your family and head out to an activity you all enjoy.
  1. You aren’t the world’s best housekeeper: That’s okay.  Our parent’s tried their best; we just didn’t retain all those little tricks and secrets.  You can always hire a housekeeper to clean your home a few times and teach you how to do more than dust and mop.  And no one will know if you keep them permanently.
  1. There are certain parts of housekeeping you never get to or just don’t like: I swear, every time I have told myself “today is going to be the day I dig in and clean this house.”  By lunchtime I would be stretched out across my fresh clean bed – never making it to cleaning my bathrooms. Housekeepers can come in and only do your bathrooms, floors, surface areas, etc.  Alternate your needs weekly and have your cleaning customized.
  1. You have elderly loved ones: Okay, so maybe you may not want or need help.  But – someone else you know may need cleaning done.  As people age, the first thing that becomes harder is their daily chores.  Rather than cleaning, seniors tend to use their energy for self-care over home care.  Not only is this hard for them as it causes shame to have guest in a home that was once neat and tidy but it also poses a hazard. Seniors are prone to falls and the more clutter that builds up; the more fall risks there are for your loved ones. Hire a housekeeper to do the light chores of the house for your family.  They can help with laundry, dishes, sweeping and mopping.  Having a comfortable and clean living space can keep anyone’s spirit up.
  1. There’s a new baby in the home: I’m having flash backs now of the first weeks following bringing my babies home. Diapers stacked up were just the beginning of what chores were being neglected as I tried to catch naps or take a shower when the baby was sound asleep.  Oh, how I wish I could have registered for housekeeping.  Instead of flowers, suggest to your friends and family to gift you a housekeeper to get you through those first few weeks home with baby.
  1. You’re Worth It! Really, do you need another excuse? Treat yourself darn it.  We all need a break.  Whether you have to move money around in your budget and not get that massage or cut back on lattes for a week, this luxury will be worth it.

Maid Marvelous wants to be there when you resign as a housekeeper.  Contact us today to set up a consultation.