Monday, December 17, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
HORSE with housework. Poker-style bidding.
How to Play:
1. Issue a housework challenge to one or more members of the household. Announce what task you plan to tackle, and how long (or how many, depending on the task) you plan to spend doing it. For example, "I'm going to spend two minutes unloading the dishwasher," or, "I'm going to pick up four toys from the living room floor, and put them away."
2. From the time you complete your task, the challenged party (or parties) has one hour to respond. They may choose one of three responses:
a) Call. They agree to do the same (or equivalent, by agreement) task that you did. If they are successful in competing the task, play passes to the next player, until everyone has met the challenge. Then the round is over, and no one gets a letter.
b) Raise. They agree to do the same (or equivalent, by agreement) task that you did, and also add an additional task of their own choosing. If they are successful in completing both tasks, play passes to the next player, until everyone has met all of the challenges.
c) Fold. If the challenged player does not wish to complete any of the tasks, they may fold, and take a letter in the word "HORSE" (or some clever alternative that has to do with housework). Failure to respond or complete your task within an hour is treated as a de facto fold.
3. Keep a tally of everyone's letters in a prominent location. If someone spells the word HORSE, they lose, and something terrible will happen to them. You can decide what the punishment is for losing, but I'm leaning towards the dirtiest, most hated household chores.
Some Ground Rules:
1. All challenged parties need to be at home when challenged (and not about to leave for a scheduled activity).
2. You must state the parameters of your task BEFORE embarking on it. You can't raise the stakes just because something took you longer than you thought it would, or because you got some cleaning momentum and kept going past the end of your declared time limit. (Aside: You are allowed, even encouraged, to do more than the challenged task; it just doesn't count for the game.) You also can't retroactively issue challenges. I can't spend an hour doing dishes, then sit down and say, "Okay, now you spend an hour doing dishes or you'll get a letter."
3. If you choose a task that only you are capable of doing, or that can only be done once, you must be reasonable in your consideration of equivalent alternatives.
4. Game may be paused by mutual consensus (or parental fiat) for meals or other family activities.
Tips and Tricks:
1. Bid small at first. It's easier to get up off your butt to do a small task than a big one. Once you're both up cleaning and have a bit of momentum, you can raise the stakes.
2. If everyone calls, no one gets a letter. This can be a good thing, and it works especially well when playing with small children, because they like it when everyone wins.
Special Rule: The Shootout
Choose a simple, easily repeatable challenge, like picking up one toy, or washing one dish. Cycle through the players, repeating the task in quick succession until one player opts to not complete the task. That player gets a letter, and the shootout round is over. (Although remaining players may choose to continue playing, elimination-style, if desired.)
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Step Two: Deep clean half the house while looking for the source of the awful smell.
Step Three (optional): Find the dishcloth somewhere obvious, like the middle of the dining room table, and wonder why on earth you didn't look there first.
Friday, August 24, 2012
"I was doing a quick wipedown of the bathroom and after I sprayed everything with the cleaning stuff I realized my papertowels were downstairs and I was waaaaaaaay too lazy to walk down there and get them so I looked in the cabinet and I saw a box of overnight maxi pads so I just opened a few of those, stuck them to my hands and used them to wipe off the cleaning solution. It was surprisingly effective, I suggest you give it a try (you know you're curious to, now!)" (submitted by Rhian)
Monday, August 6, 2012
When you get home from ten days of camping, make laundry soup. Fill the bathtub with hot water and several scoops of Oxy Clean. Add all of the filthy laundry, and let it soak all day, mixing occasionally. When you're ready to wash it, transfer to the washer in small batches, using a Rubbermaid tub.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
I used to think that the ideal number of dirty dishes was "as few as possible", but I have recently made the discovery that the ideal number is actually "enough to fill the dishwasher once a day". It seems counterintuitive, but it actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it. I used to only ever use the dishwasher if I was behind on dishes (which, admittedly, I usually was), because it seemed wasteful to run a partial load, and if the dishes sat in there for more than a day, I would go crazy looking for things I use every day (like my kefir strainer and my DMIUFCEM) and have to dig them out of the dishwasher and hand wash them after all. Dishes that sat for longer also needed more of a pre-scrub (or more of a post-scrub, if I didn't pre-scrub them) than dishes that were washed the same day.
So, my amazing discovery has been that: More dirty dishes = Running dishwasher more often = Actually washing fewer dishes. Hooray!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
(If you're extra geeky, like me, you can make it an event on your Google Calendar, then set a 24-hour reminder so you'll remember to take it out of the freezer.)
Sunday, July 15, 2012
(If you have a cheapo trash can that you have to open with your hand, like ours, it saves you even more time, because you can carry two-handed loads over to the trash without worrying about how you'll get it open once you get there.)
Friday, July 13, 2012
I can't clean out the fridge, because I have no counter space to move things to.
I can't clean the counters, because they're covered in dirty dishes.
I can't wash the dirty dishes, because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes.
And it's my husband's turn to empty the dishwasher.
No matter what the problem might be, you can always find a way to blame someone else.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
On a related note: Whenever possible, use the same dish for preparing and eating food. For example, I make my morning coffee with a one-cup coffee maker that brews the coffee directly into my mug. No pot to wash! And I make my smoothies in wide-mouth mason quart jars, which serve triple duty. The measurements on the side save me using a measuring cup, the wide mouth lets me use my immersion blender rather than dirtying my big, cumbersome countertop blender, and when it's all done, I can just drink straight out of the jar like a giant cup!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Monday, July 9, 2012
- Frozen food keeps colder longer in a chest freezer, so it's not as big of a deal if I don't rotate through the freezer stuff as often as I should.
- I have plenty of space to freeze leftovers rather than putting them in the fridge, where they often spoil before I remember to consume them.
- The top of the freezer is a huge, flat surface that can be used as a countertop. However, it has two advantages over a regular countertop:
- You have to open the freezer sometimes, so it regularly gets cleared off completely.
- It is open at the side, so you can set the trash can right beside it and shove trash or vegetable peels right off the edge into the trash can.
- When you have easy access to the chest freezer, rather than it being stowed away in the basement, you're more likely to use it.
- Several square feet of additional ferrous surface for the kids to put magnets and artwork on.
- When you order pizza for dinner, you don't have to worry about making room in the fridge for the leftovers - just stick the whole box right in the freezer. (Added bonus: When you pack frozen pizza for lunch, it stays cold until you eat it.)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
We just got back from a road trip, and we visited and/or stayed with several friends along the way. At every house, my hostess would say to me, "You know, I normally get so stressed out when company is coming, but I read your blog, I knew you wouldn't mind!" And then we get to relax and have an enjoyable visit, without anyone worrying about the fingerprints on the windows. Win/win!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
(Addendum: If you like a lot of sauce, or if you like your pasta to be really hot, you can modify this tip. Spoon one portion of sauce into the bottom of the bowl you plan on eating from, and heat it up in the microwave while you are serving the kids their luke-warm bowls. Then, when your sauce it hot, just put your hot pasta on top of it, and stir it up!)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
And then, if it doesn't last forever (which it never does), at least your house is in better shape than it was before. Having a clean house once a year is better than never, right?
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Added bonus: The kids think they have won the dinner lottery! They get to eat all the ham they want, and they get to eat with their fingers! I'm the best mom ever!
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Ever since I started baking bread, my counters have stayed relatively clean, because I need counter space to roll out the dough. I don't enjoy cleaning counters, but I do enjoy baking bread, and the desire to have a place to roll out the dough usually outweighs my lack of desire to clean the counters. (If I really don't feel like cleaning the counter, I can always use the machine to bake the bread, but I like the way it tastes better when I bake it in the oven, which is a pretty good motivator. Plus, I have to do find *something* to do for the hour and a half while the machine is doing all the hard work mixing and kneading the dough for me.)
Friday, February 24, 2012
Some other uses for Vis-à-Vis markers:
-leave messages directly on windows/mirrors/fridges/doors for your spouse or housemates
-leave reminders for yourself on things you need to clean (toilets, windows, etc)
-hang an empty picture frame and use it as a to-do list or menu or weekly schedule
-help a preschooler tell time by circling the number on the clock that the big hand will be pointing to when it's time to go
-draw mustaches on framed family portraits
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the Vis-à-Vis marker company, and I didn't receive anything in exchange for writing this post. I just like this product.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Note: Putting your finger over the spout isn't technically necessary, but sometimes, shaking creates enough pressure to open the valve (especially if you are making warm chocolate milk), so it's a good precaution.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Added bonus: If you spill ingredients while you are baking, they will land in the casserole dish, rather than in your recipe book.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
So, the last time I got all the mugs clean, I chose one to be my DMIUFCEM. As soon as I am done my morning coffee, I wash the DMIUFCEM, so it will be clean and ready for the next day. Haha, just kidding. The next morning, while my coffee is brewing, I search the house for where I left the DMIUFCEM, and wash it out when I find it. It just had coffee in it less than a day ago, and it's about to have coffee in it again, so a quick rinse will usually suffice.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
For full Casserole Club details, see my other blog.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
Put a strainer/colander in the sink, and dump all the soups, etc. into the strainer. The liquids will drip through and go down the drain, and the solids will stay behind, to be thrown in the trash. If you want to be really thorough, run some hot water over the solid gunk to dislodge any sticky liquid or jellified broth before dumping it all in the trash.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Monday, January 2, 2012
(Submitted by Shreyas)