Hurried Homemaker

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Archive for the ‘Time-saving Tips’ Category

August 20th, 2011 by Rhiana

Quick Cleaning Tip

I cannot stand cleaning. I love having a clean house, but I do NOT enjoy the process. Matter of fact, I prefer zooming through cleaning as fast as possible and forgetting about it until it has to be done again. Therefore, you will rarely hear/see me talk about cleaning. But, my neighbor gave me a tip that has been very helpful to me and I decided it should be passed along …


Yes. The stuff is amazing. I bought a pack of 2 at Costco for about $3.50 and poured one into an empty spray bottle. Little fingerprints on your stainless steel refrigerator? No match! Fingerprints are gone and no streaks left behind! Countertops are left spotless and sanitized. It cleans everything – one spray bottle, one cleaning agent, one towel/sponge. (Can you hear the choir singing “Hallelujah”?)

Ok. I think that is about all the cleaning talk/thinking I can do today because I still have to clean my kitchen floors.

May 9th, 2011 by Rhiana

10 Minute Workouts

I am all about getting things done in 10 minutes lately. Some may call it lazy, I call it genius. If I can get the kids to help me clean up in 10 minutes without argument (I’m not kidding) a couple times a day, and I can get in a quickie-uninterrupted workout in 10 minutes … why wouldn’t I?!? I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a ton of me-time. When I do, I would rather spend it getting a manicure or facial – not working out.

A few weeks ago, while searching Netflix, I came across a series of workouts all titled “10 Minute Solution”. I started off with “10 Minute Solution: Fat Blasting Dance Mix”. This is a fun, energetic, hip-hop style dance workout. I was a ballerina for many years, so this was a bit awkward for me at first, but WOW! I was sweating and feeling the workout only a few minutes in.


More recently I’ve done “10 Minute Solution: Pilates” and “10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates”. After just more than a week of adding a 10-minute pilates workout to my existing routine (which is a 30-min elliptical workout 2-3 days/week), pants that used to be tight are no longer. I have worked muscles I don’t believe that I ever have before – every single muscle in my torso, butt, thighs, hips, and legs … under my armpits even hurt!

I’m not sure if you use Netflix, but if not I’m pretty sure that, the library, or YouTube has them. There is a whole series of these “10 Minute Solution” workouts left to try … more dance workouts, kickboxing, yoga, toning, fitness ball, even prenatal workouts. If you have 10 minutes (and surely you do), then go try one!

Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this post in any way by any party mentioned in the above post. This post is opinion only.

May 1st, 2011 by Rhiana

10 Minute Tidy

We have implemented something I call the “10-minute tidy” and it has been wonderful for our household (and my sanity). So, I had to share it with you!

After breakfast, and again after dinner, I set the timer for 10 minutes and let the kids know it is time for the “10-minute tidy!” Two times a day, the kids know that they have to dedicate 10 minutes to picking up around the house – their bedrooms, the living room, kitchen, etc. Once the timer goes off they are done. Amazingly, everything that is out of place gets put back where it belongs and the house is back to working order.


Often, in the morning, the house is already fairly tidy. In this case, I assign a task – like wiping down baseboards or dust mopping the hardwoods, sorting laundry, etc.

The kids now keep things more tidy during the day so that they don’t have as much to do during the “10-minute tidy” time. I hope this little tip helps your family, too!

January 11th, 2011 by Rhiana

Calendars and Apps and Sites, oh my!

Did you know that January is National Organizational Month? Makes sense, considering all the New Years Resolutions made to “get organized this year”. I have always had a hard time getting organized. I even enlisted the help of a professional organizer (remember?). Well, now that I learned the basics of getting organized, I have found my house and life to run much more smoothly.

I thought I would take a moment to share with you my favorite organizational tools. Keep in mind that I am no expert, just a mom. The info I am offering are just from my own trial and error. As I post my favorite tips, I hope you will share the tips that work for you by commenting or linking your own posts.


I have used both the MomAgenda and the Franklin Covey planning systems. I must admit that I love both.

  • MomAgenda is currently having a sale for 35% off AND an additional 10% off if you “like” their Facebook page.
  • Many of the Franklin Covey products are currently on sale right now, too!


I love cooking, but often take longer to figure out what I’m making or making a grocery list than it actually takes to cook it. I love 2 particular iPhone apps for planning meals and making lists:

  • Epicurious – this app makes it easy to search for new recipes, then you can add them to your favorites and/or shopping list. Once you’ve gathered your recipes in the shopping list, tap “create list” and there is your shopping list! Perfection.
  • Grocery IQ – perfect for when you already know what you’re making, this allows you to divide your list up by section and store. I use it for the grocery store, Costco, Target, and home improvement stores. This app also tracks your spending on each item and totals your list for you so you can estimate your total cost.


My absolute favorite website for keeping track of our finances is It is FREE and allows you to enter all your checking and savings accounts, mortgages, debts (credit cards, student loans, etc), IRAs, etc. It will also offer suggestions on how to save money based on your spending. And, of course, “there’s an app for that”.

Hurried Homemaker was in no way compensated for this post.

November 27th, 2010 by Rhiana

The Menu Planning Begins

I have never really been one for menu planning. I am more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of cook. However, now that we have moved to the country, I need to begin planning my trips a bit better. I also have to begin planning meals around what crops are available through my local CSA (find yours or learn more here).

This week, I’m getting: acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash; sweet potatoes; mixed baby greens, arugula, and daikon radishes; fresh herbs. I am actually not a big fan of winter squash, but decided that trying some new recipes would be a great way to incorporate these great local, organic veggies into our family’s diet.

Here is my menu this week. Do you plan your family’s meals for the week? Please share your ideas or links to your meal plans in the comments!


B:    cereal or oatmeal or yogurt w/ fruit, or sweet potato biscuits & ham
L:    salad and/or sandwich, soup
D:    roast chicken, dandelion salad w/ roasted acorn squash & pomegranate vinaigrette

B:    cereal or oatmeal or yogurt w/ fruit, or sweet potato biscuits & ham
L:    salad, sandwich, soup
D:    hamburgers, spaghetti squash w/ Moroccan spices

B:    cereal or oatmeal or yogurt w/ fruit, or sweet potato biscuits & ham
L:    salad, sandwich, soup
D:    pork tenderloin w/ arugula, endive, and walnut vinaigrette

B:    cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, biscuits & ham
L:    salad and/or sandwich, soup
D:    sausage stuffed acorn squash

B:    cereal or oatmeal or yogurt w/ fruit, or sweet potato biscuits & ham
L:    salad and/or sandwich, soup
D:    flank steak w/ Asian salad (daikon radishes)

B:    cereal or oatmeal or yogurt w/ fruit, or sweet potato biscuits & ham
L:    salad and/or sandwich, soup
D:    pulled pork/turkey BBQ sandwiches, sweet potato wedges

B:    cereal or oatmeal or yogurt w/ fruit, or sweet potato biscuits & ham
L:    salad and/or sandwich, soup
D:    leftover day

November 20th, 2010 by Rhiana

Type-A Turkey Day

I am ridiculously type-A when it comes to certain things, particularly planning events and holidays. I make spreadsheets for nearly everything – cleaning routines, sewing projects, holiday gift ideas, etc. I have yet to make any anal-retentive lists or spreadsheets for Thanksgiving, however. And now, thanks to about 15 bloggers and Good Life Eats, I don’t need to.

Here is the awesomeness that I am speaking of:

Free Thanksgiving eBook on Good Life Eats

Click on the picture above to get to the eBook or here. A HUGE thank you to everyone who put this together!

September 22nd, 2010 by Rhiana

Eco-conscious, Budget-friendly Birthday Gift Tips | Guest Post by Michelle from Doudou Bebe

I asked Michelle from doudou bebe, one of my favorite online baby boutiques, to write a guest post. She has amazing taste and some fabulous ideas. I love that she decided to write about birthday gifts. And not just any birthday gifts – she is right up my ally with this take on ideas/tips for the mom who is thinking about greeness, budget and ease of purchase, while still wanting to get something that the birthday child actually will enjoy.

Be sure to get more great ideas and advice from Michelle by following her on twitter (@doudoubebe), on her blog, and/or her fabulous website.


In the early years, I was always excited to get a birthday party invite for the kids: it meant a nice afternoon of playing and cake. For me and for them because back then their friends were exclusively the children of my friends. But as they’ve gone out into the world and acquired their own little circle of friends (humph!), brightly coloured envelopes come home in their backpacks and cheerful emails arrive with RSVP by dates that I will never actually meet.

One of the more difficult aspects of this has been selecting appropriate gifts for kids that I don’t know well whose parents I know even less (if at all). Until you’ve faced it, it seems like a minor thing, but the things we give our kids have says a lot about our values. With my friends, I know pretty well if a craft set will be well-appreciated or relegated to the back cupboard because it’s too messy (or too potentially toxic or too ‘feminine’ for their boy… the pitfalls are many).

I know well how frustrating it is to have gifts that contradict the values that I want to teach my kids – but that the kids inevitably love more than life itself. Recognizing too that our low-plastic, creative play focus isn’t what every family sees as ideal, I’m also trying to use these opportunities to teach the kids about kindness and generosity in the wider world. It’s not easy to balance, but it’s a big lesson so we keep at it.
It doesn’t help at all that asking a 5 or 6 year old what their little friend likes rarely elicits useful information. I once trekked out to the toy store to buy a Spider-Man doll that Isabelle was quite sure her friend really wanted for his birthday – only to find out that the way she knew he liked it was that he had brought the one he already had to show and tell. Sigh.

Nonetheless, with a few years of school under our belts now, birthday season has become much less stressful. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up:

  • Set a general budget based on the number of parties you’re likely to attend in the school year and stick to it
  • Have your children participate in the selection, wrapping and card-writing for the gift
  • Have one or two back-up gifts in case you find yourself remembering at the last moment that you have a party, at noon that day (not that this has ever happened to me, of course!)
  • For older kids, gift certificates can be a good option; for younger kids, the idea of a gift certificate is too abstract. Also, the gift preparation that’s so important to your kids largely gets lost with a gift card
  • Classic toys will appeal to most parents and kids
  • If in doubt, be conservative: if it occurs to you that someone might object, then chances are someone will. If you go for it anyway, be sure to have a gift receipt.
  • If you find a cool neutral gift on sale, buy a couple of the same one to keep on hand (but remember that without the gift receipt, if it’s not a really cool universal gift, some of them may end up in the broom closet)

Take heart too – birthday parties are for the kids and they are supposed to be fun. Even if one or two (or even all) of the gifts you thoughtfully purchase and present are never really used, it really is the thought that counts.

July 6th, 2010 by Rhiana

Traveling with Tots

Last week was our first long family trip with two kids. We’ve taken the short 4-hour drive to Nashville with both kids, but we haven’t taken a full-fledged trip since our last vacation (which was when we had only 1 kid).  I asked around the Twitterverse and FB-union for some tips on traveling with kids and got a couple suggestions. The rest was up to us to figure out on our own, and we did. I will, in turn, pass along what I recommend.

The Challenges

  • The oldest is 8 and the baby is 18 months … there are none in between, so we have a huge age difference to contend with.
  • The baby is what one might call “high maintenance” – she is demanding, picky, and can throw a tantrum better than any 2 or 3 year-old I’ve ever seen.
  • The trip required two early wake-up calls – as in 4am and 5am!
  • Two airplane rides in one day with a toddler – doesn’t that sound fun?
  • One of the planes was an 18-passenger tin can with no beverage service, much less a bathroom. (Of course we wouldn’t know about this challenge until after we were about to board.)

Tips from Others

  • My friend Irene (@notsusiehomemkr) recommended ring pops … (doesn’t work for me since I try to avoid giving candy, but may for someone else)
  • My cousin suggested the ABC game (great for kids who know their ABCs)

As you can tell, I didn’t get a ton of ideas from the world-wide web. So, it was up to me and the hub to figure it out. If you know anything about my family, you know that by “me and the hub” I really mean “me” because the hub got back in town only a few hours before we had to get up to catch the first flight. So …

Our Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

  1. Early AM flights are actually a good thing – tired kids sleep on airplanes
  2. Wheel Easy Car Seat Travel Bag is perfect for toting along the car seat to check with baggage (there are a number of other options out there, but I found this was the most reasonably priced option for our travel needs)
  3. Pack a small bag for the oldest to carry-on filled with all-age activities (a pad of paper, Crayola Twistable crayons, Play-doh, Rubik’s cube, and finger puppets filled our bag)
  4. Have a change of clothes for each person in a carry-on. Fold each item in 1/2 and roll to avoid wrinkles.
  5. Bring along a diaper bag for the little one, but have your diapers delivered to your destination ahead of time using a service like
  6. Dress everyone in layers: We left Atlanta at 6am and it was about 75 degrees and humid. The plane was comfortable. We landed in Denver to 59 degrees and breezy. Then we got on a hot little airplane to get to South Dakota, where it was 89 degrees but windy. On the way home, it was FREEZING on the airplane, then warm in Denver, comfortable on airplane #2 and then HOT in Atlanta. Layers, people.
  7. Nurse that baby on the plane. I cannot emphasize it enough – their little ears have the hardest time with the pressure changes. There were 2 babies other than ours on the plane at one point – I nursed, they didn’t. Guess who’s baby was screaming? (Hint: it wasn’t mine.)
  8. Have to take more than 1 flight? Schedule yours so that your layover is about 2-3 hours. This gives the kids time to wander the airport, stretch their legs, get a snack, go to the bathroom, and play for a bit. And then take a nap on the next flight.
  9. Different time zone? Try to keep everyone on the time zone in which you’re accustomed – this is only reasonable if you’re only an hour or two off.
  10. Relax. Being uptight about every. little. thing. makes the trip stressful and difficult to enjoy. Every moment doesn’t need to be planned. There are bound to be hiccups that will throw things off a little. It is ok. Enjoy it.

Do you have other tips that I should have mentioned?

P.S. – Here are a few of my favorite farm-country pics from our trip:

Hurried Homemaker was in no way compensated for this post. We are actual customers of all products/companies mentioned above.

June 27th, 2010 by Rhiana

Organizing Consultation Giveaway

Getting organized is important to every mom I know. Staying organized is a challenge for every mom I know. GiGi at Vision Organizing has been helping me get my house in order so that I can finally feel like things aren’t so chaotic.

I had no idea when I quit working that keeping a home, a family, a life organized would be such a challenge for me. I had always worked. The house seemed to just run itself. Only it wasn’t … we were just burying it all. I’m paying for it now. Clutter, chaos, and craziness have ruled my house long enough. I’m taking control, thanks to GiGi.

GiGi is full of great ideas for everyone -no budget to tiny budget, she is quick to provide a solution or set of solutions tailored just for your needs.

If you want to take back control, or just need a little refresher course on getting it all together, this giveaway is for you.

Win a 1-hour phone/email organization consultation with Vision Organizing!

how to enter

giveaway is from june 28, 2010 to july 29, 2010 (10pm) – winner will be chosen randomly


Leave a comment telling what you need help managing and why.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES (leave a comment for each):

  • Show us a picture of your space that needs help (leave a link in the comment)
  • Follow me on Google FriendConnect
  • Subscribe to the Hurried Homemaker blog via email or reader
  • Click on the “Top Mommy Blog” icon on the sidebar to vote for HH
  • “Like” Hurried Homemaker on Facebook
  • “Like” Vision Organizing on Facebook
  • Refer a friend – have them include your name in parentheses with their 1st entry
  • Follow @hurriedhomemakr and @organizer on Twitter and tweet I entered to win an organizing consultation with @organizer on @hurriedhomemakr –

Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this post. We were provided with an organizing session to provide a review, but this in no way affects our opinion of this service.

May 9th, 2010 by Rhiana

Kitchen/Paper Organization with GiGi from Vision Organizing

I’m almost too embarrassed to post the before pictures of my house, but I’m sure someone out there is worse off than us! So, first a disclaimer:

I am a homemaker, not a housekeeper. No – they are not synonymous with one another. I am a great mom and wife; I spend quality time with my family. That time does not include a ton of cleaning. Granted, I do laundry and dishes daily; I clean the refridgerator about once a week. Behind closed doors – cabinets, closets, and wardrobes – lies neatness (believe it or not). However, there is an overwhelming amount of (dare I say) crap out in the open. Stuff that gets just tossed somewhere into the abyss and never put in a proper place.

That said, here goes nothing:

GiGi Miller (owner of Vision Organizing) and I started with what seems to be the most overwhelming in our house – papers. Believe it or not, I still had Kindergarten papers from my [now] 3rd grader. I never knew what to do with it all. I used to work. I never had to deal with all this sort of stuff. Now, I do. And, thanks to GiGi, I now know how to deal with all of it!

bar counter before (right)

bar counter before (left)

bar counter after

counter right before

counter right after

counter left before

counter left after

counter left after

corner before

corner after

How did we do it? GiGi’s genius bins. We separated everything into piles and it works beautifully! I wish I had photographed the recycle pile – it was HUGE!

In just about 2 hours we accomplished ALL this! It has been a blessing for our family and I can’t wait to continue. I will be keeping you all posted on the progress (unsightly as it may be). But, in the meantime, if you want a little help, stay tuned. You won’t want to miss the giveaway coming up!

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