Posted in Bounding Time, Clean Up Time, Decorating Ideas and Tips, Familia, My Guardian Devils, Something New

Chores made fun…

1. Hide treats, stickers, or pennies in, on, or under knickknacks, then ask your child to dust. She gets to enjoy the rewards only when everything is dusted.

2. Post individual lists of chores kids can do (one for each child in your family). Whenever your child accomplishes a task, have her mark it with a sticker. Whoever has the most stickers at the end of the week gets the Helper of the Week award.

3. Play “Go Fish” with a basket of clean socks. Divide the socks among the players, leaving a pile to draw from. Each player, in turn, holds up a sock and asks another player if he has the mate. If not, the asking player must take a sock from the top of the draw pile. When finished, the player with the most pairs wins

4. Turn any socks that stay single into child-friendly dust mitts. Insert child’s hand into clean but dampened sock and use it to remove dust from houseplants and furniture.

5. Have a scavenger hunt. Make a list of everyday items (newspapers, magazine, shoes, etc.). Set a timer for 5 minutes, then have kids collect stray items throughout the house. The winner is the child who picks up the most (and returns them to their rightful spots).

6. After dinner, do a “10-Minute Tidy.” Set a timer and have family members scatter through the house putting away the day’s clutter

7. Appoint someone to be Inspector D. Clutter. Armed with a laundry basket and plastic police badge from the dress-up box, this person roams the house and puts stray belongings into clutter “jail” (the basket). To set an item free, its owner (Mom and Dad included!) must do a chore.

8. Turn a bucket into a personalized cleaning caddy. Use permanent marker to write your child’s name on it and have him decorate its with other drawings. Store supplies such as sponge, dust rag and roll of paper towels, etc.

9. Show them the money? Some experts believe allowance should be reserved for teenagers. School-aged children will easily get behind the idea that chores are something you do as a member of the family — not for money. They’ll be excited just to show off their skill at completing a task.”

Posted in Accomplishments, Bounding Time, Clean Up Time, Common Sense, Decorating Ideas and Tips, Familia, My Guardian Devils, Time Management

Time for Chores

Chores are an integral part of your child’s development. They help him learn to take care of himself and gain a sense of duty. As he grows, household tasks help him practice responsibility and are essential for handling future school assignments. They underscore his presence and importance as a contributing member of your family (which is why most experts don’t recommend tying an allowance to chores; they are simply a responsibility that everyone shares).

So don’t hesitate to get him busy! Think of his jobs in three ways: personal chores are tasks he should do so he can learn to take care of himself, household chores are duties he should take on as a functioning member of the family, and chores to do together are activities that help him learn a skill while keeping you company.

Start with one or two personal tasks and one household duty per day. Always show your child exactly how a job should be done, and take the time to practice with her. Post a reminder list (use pictures for pre-readers.) Soon these duties will be routine, and then you can begin to gauge how much your child can do to help; subsequently, you can give her more responsibility.

Ages 2 to 3

Personal chores:
• Choose clothes
• Get dressed
• Put toys away
• Stack or shelve books

Household chores:
• Feed the family pet
• Be a “gofer”: Fetch (safe, lightweight) items from another room

Chores to do together:
• Dust
• Wipe countertops and tables
• Set the table
• Cook (For example, she can dump ingredients into a bowl.)

Ages 4 to 5

Personal chores:
Everything a younger child can do, plus:
• Put worn clothing in the laundry hamper
• Put clean clothes away in drawers
• Make the bed

Household chores:
• Bring in the mail/newspaper
• Fix a bowl of cereal
• Clear the table
• Unload utensils (except knives) from the dishwasher
• Sweep the floor with a child-sized broom
• Empty small garbage cans

Chores to do together:
• Gardening
• Water plants
• Separate recyclables
• Sort laundry (clean or dirty!)

Making Chores Less of a Chore
Hiring a little helper is the first step. Try these ideas for making household chores fun for both of you:

• Turn on the music. When you clean, play upbeat music — loudly! Hand your child a feather duster while you clean the windows. Say, “Let’s see if you can finish dusting the coffee table by the end of this song.” Take dancing breaks every now and then.

• Make it a contest. Every morning, see who can get the newspaper first. After a few mornings, let your child “win” and tell him, “You’re so quick, I want you to be in charge of getting the newspaper every day.” Knowing that he is the best at a particular task will give him a sense of importance.

• Play the part. Before the first time you teach your child how to clear the table, take him to a restaurant and point out the waiters. Then at your next meal at home, show him how he can be his own waiter by clearing his plate and taking it to the sink. Tell him that since you were the waiter who brought the food to the table, he gets to be the waiter that cleans up.

• Reward him once in awhile. When your child does a good job with a new chore, let him know that you appreciate his help. If he has neatly organized his toys after playing with them every day for an entire week, treat him to a new small toy. If he has unloaded the utensils from the dishwasher without you asking, let him pick his favorite dessert after dinner.

Posted in Accomplishments, Budget Wisely, Clean Up Time, Decorating Ideas and Tips, Fetish Addict

Speed Cleaning…?

free-up-your-time guide to getting — and keeping — the entire house clean in just minutes a day.

In the kitchen:

Every night, take 5 minutes after dinner to:

■ Wipe down counter and stove top (2 minutes).
Run a damp cleanser-treated microfiber cloth across the counter using horizontal overlapping strokes, and spot-clean spills and grease on the stove (including under the burner rings) and in the microwave.

■ Sweep the floor (3 minutes).
Look around: If you spot coffee grounds, cookie crumbs, or pet hair balls on the floor, grab a hand vacuum or flat Swiffer-style sweeper and give the floor a quick once-over, starting in the farthest corner and working out toward the door. Wipe wet spills with a dampened paper towel.

Every 2 weeks, take 13 minutes to:

■ Dust walls and cupboards (4 minutes).
Use a half-damp microfiber cloth (H2O and microfiber are all you need to tackle 90 percent of household surfaces) to spot-dust walls and cupboards as well as door and window frames.

■ Clean out the fridge (2 minutes).
Spot-clean mysterious spills on shelves and inside drawers with a damp microfiber cloth.

■ Wipe down surfaces (3 minutes).
With a cleanser-treated cloth, wipe down the counter, sink, stove, and fridge (including handle) using overlapping horizontal strokes (no redundant circles!). A grout brush and lime-scale remover will nip grit and grime around the faucet.

■ Clean baseboards and floors (4 minutes).
Sweep baseboards with a Swiffer or dry microfiber mop, then sweep the floor, starting in the farthest corner and working out of the room. Spray cleanser on the mop for an I’ve-been-mopping- all-day shine.

In the bathroom:

Every day, take 3 minutes after you shower to:

■ Spray tub, tile, and shower curtain/doors (30 seconds).
Let a shower spray fight all-over scum while you get on with your day.

■ Spruce up the sink (30 seconds).
Grab a paper towel from under the sink and run it across the vanity and sink bowl to clean up toothpaste, powder bronzer, or whatever you may have left behind.

■ Wipe down the toilet (1 minute).
If the toilet is showing telltale signs of messy aim, use a disposable disinfecting wipe to give the throne a royal wiping-down.

■ Spot-clean the floors (1 minute).
Use a paper towel or rag to wipe around the tub and toilet, and below the sink where dust and drips gather.
Every 2 weeks, take 14 minutes to:

■ Disinfect the toilet (1 minute).
Maximize the disinfectant in your multi-surface spray by letting the cleanser fight germs and bacteria while you work the room. Spray the toilet – from the commode (don’t forget the flusher) to the base.

■ Clean the sink (2 minutes).
Again bucking the “spray your cloth” rule, spray sink fixtures and surfaces. Let the cleanser disinfect while you spray a microfiber cloth and clean the bathroom mirror using horizontal overlapping strokes to prevent streaks. Then, use the cloth to wipe down the sink.

■ Shape up the shower (5 minutes).
Spray tile with multi-surface cleanser. Let it eat away lingering soap scum while you quickly scrub the tub (target the sides and the floor) with a scrub pad and a dab of cream cleanser (like Soft Scrub). Wipe shower tiles with a clean, damp microfiber flat mop, then clean shower door with a microfiber cloth.

■ Finish cleaning the toilet (3 minutes).
Sprinkle a mild powder cleanser inside the bowl. (Never mix cleansers in the bowl or on surfaces – this may cause noxious fumes.) Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away the cleanser and buildup on the surfaces you sprayed seven minutes ago. Now, grab your brush – the two minutes you spent shining up the john just shaved off half your scrubbing time.

■ Sweep and mop floor (3 minutes).
Tackle dirt in hard-to-reach areas – behind the toilet, under the sink – with a microfiber cloth. On entire floor, do a dry, then a wet, once-over with a flat microfiber mop. No scrubbing necessary!

In the living room:

Every night, take 3 minutes before bed to:

■ Clear away clutter (2 minutes).
Tie up newspapers for recycling; stash magazines and remotes.

■ Spot-clean the floor (1 minute).
If the day brought tracks of debris through the room (leaves, pretzel crumbs), use a hand vac to get rid of messes.

Every 2 weeks, take 12 minutes to:

■ Dust ceiling fans, bookshelves, walls, and windowsills (2 minutes).
Use a microfiber extendable duster or an ostrich-feather duster (ostrich feathers are dirt-trappers too) to dust ceiling fans, blinds, light fixtures, and bookshelves. Then swipe walls and windowsills with a damp microfiber cloth.

■ Tidy the tables (5 minutes).
Swipe coffee tables and other surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth. (Keep a dusting cloth tucked away in a drawer in an entertainment center or an end table so it’s easy to find.) Straighten surfaces as you go; whenever you pick up an item, dust the surface where it sat, then the spot that you’re moving it to, before you set it down.

■ Sweep baseboards; vacuum or sweep floor (5 minutes).
Run a dry microfiber mop along baseboards to remove dust and pet hair. Continue sweeping non-carpeted floors with the microfiber mop. For carpets, vacuum the room. Employ the golden cornrowing rule: Push the vacuum all the way up one side of the room, turn, and walk back down the next row – it covers more carpet area in less time.

In the bedroom:

Every day, follow basic living-room maintenance plus take less than 2 more minutes to:

■ Make the bed (1 minute).
Pull up the covers and fluff the pillows.

■ Unclutter the dresser or bureau (30 seconds).
Straighten up dresser top, then use a microfiber cloth to pick up any errant dust or hair.

Every 2 weeks, take 6 minutes to:

■ Change the bedding (3 minutes).
Wash sheets in at least 130-degree water (set dial to “hot”) or pour in a detergent additive (recommends De-Mite Laundry Additive, $13.99, natlallergy.com) to kill invisible dust mites lurking in your linens.

■ Vacuum or sweep the floor (3 minutes).

The 5 Golden Rules of Speedy Cleaning

1. Spend 5 minutes a day tidying the main rooms of your home. A day’s worth of dirt is easier to tackle than a week’s accumulated mess. Then, every two weeks, do a quick, deep clean.
2. Keep your cleaners handy and organized. Stash a set of tools and cleaners under the bathroom and kitchen sinks, so you don’t have to lug them around for quick touch-ups.
3. Embrace microfiber technology. The intricately woven fibers trap fine dirt and liquid – rather than pushing it around like other cloths.
4. Work efficiently. Apply cleansers to your mop or cloth, rather than directly to floors or counters, so you don’t spend more time cleaning up product than spills. And use long side-to-side strokes (cornrowing) with your mop, vacuum, or cloth on floors and surfaces to avoid repeat cleaning (which happens when you move in circles), says Dellutri.
5. Clean each room from top to bottom, dry to wet. Knock dust and dirt from high places down to low places. And always dust before mopping and dry-wipe before cleansing. (You’ll just be moving debris around if you wet-clean first.)

A very simple rule in speed cleaning your castle. Have it this way with my castle and so far it has been a little bit less messy. Try and enjoy!

Posted in Clean Up Time, Decorating Ideas and Tips, Fresh Start

Deck it up…

Biggest Challenges

  • Debris and stains on the decking or patio
  • Dirty, dusty furniture
  • Last year’s dead plants

Fastest Fixes

1. Spray, then swab
First step: Clear off the leaf litter. Move chairs out of the way and sweep debris to the ground. Using your garden hose with a nozzle, give the wood, stone, or concrete a blasting (go easy on broken spots), starting at the house end and working outward. While you’re at it, spray surrounding greenery to minimize damage from soap runoff later. For problematic grease or mildew stains (read: those you can still see when the furniture is replaced), sprinkle on a little laundry detergent — powder with bleach is best — and rub it in with your broom. After a few minutes, rinse.

2. Freshen furniture
Fill a bucket with water and add a few squirts of mild dish soap to make an all-purpose cleaner for plastic, wicker, wrought iron, aluminum, wood furniture, even vinyl cushions. Hose off everything (including the underside of each piece) to remove cobwebs, dirt, and leaves. Grab a cloth in one hand and a non-scratch scrubbing pad in the other. Dip the cloth into the bucket and clean the top surfaces of the table and chairs (skip the legs and undersides — no one will notice). Use the scrubbie to zap any stuck-on gunk. Rinse again; set items on their sides to drain.

3. Pretty up plants
Nothing’s as unappealing as foliage that’s had its day. If plants can’t be revived, it’s time to toss them. Swap in new blooms and plop them, pots and all, into your planters. Elevate on stands (make one out of bricks, if you have them handy) to keep trapped moisture from causing mildew. Just repot plants properly before the hot days of July — removing from their plastic containers, covering in potting soil, and watering thoroughly.

Make It Easier Next Time

  • After cleaning, apply car wax to metal and plastic furniture to help repel stains.
  • Consider the 9-piece SmartNozzle Deck & Patio Cleaning System of specialized tools that attach to your hose (including brushes, a scraper, the Sudser Nozzle that dispenses detergent, and more). Great for washing siding and garage floors, too ($70).
Posted in Familia, My Guardian Devils

Something…

Definitely something was not right…

All of a sudden our moods change…. for the worst!

We were so irritable last night and just can’t stand each other.

I ended up sleeping while the kids were busy watching their shows and playing on the net.

I guess all the things we did over the weekend caught up on us…

The end result we were all grumpy and tired…

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.