Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How do I do it?...hmmmm

Believe it or not, it is the most commonly asked question of me!!
The answer?!
Just like everyone else!!
There is nothing different, nor strange, nor special about me , or my parenting, or my house, or my cleaning or anything for that matter, and the real truth is , sometimes I don't do it. I don't cope, I have melt downs, and my house looks like mini tornado has swept through and destroyed everything in sight.
But on the other hand, and thankfully, for the most part, we kept it together, and I do , do it!! Yah!

Like I have said in the past, I don't want to seem like I am giving a lecture, or conveying a message that what I do is the right way etc, however, there are some little things that I have learnt and developed over time, particularly the past 14 months (since the twins have arrived) that I believe, have made my life and that of our family, run a little smoother. So I will share. Every little bit helps, right?

For those who know me well, know that I don't really like much clutter and "stuff" around , and I have gotten more pedantic with this of late. Stuff creates mess, which in my life , complicates things that just don't need to be complicated anymore than they already are!!
I like things to be put away straight away, or within a day or 2 (in Noel's case) and if there are dishes there, they get done etc.

I also like a clean house. Actually I LOVE a clean house. Noel has a saying "Happy wife , clean floor" and unfortunately , he is right. I would really love to be the type of person that didn't care, but I do. If the floor is dirty , needs a sweep or mop, I feel a little weird. Sort of stressed, anxious. Strange. I know.
So... I sweep, usually twice a day, if time permits.

I have a designated cleaning day. I try to clean on a Monday. Its also clean sheet day. I LOVE clean sheet day!! So before I head off for the Monday trip to dancing for Stella, I strip all the beds and start to wash the sheets.
When we get home from dancing, the kids have a play, sit down for some morning tea and I remake the beds, and put on another load of washing.

I used to have a cleaning lady, and I loved it. However, as much as someone cleaning your house is awesome, it also costs money, and now that I am not working, I see no reason why I can't do it myself, there is always time at night or when the kids sleep. Or Stella just helps me, she is a great little cleaner!!
Not to mention the fact that no matter how good someone is, they never do it quite the way you do!!
So I also clean the house on  a Monday.
I try and do all the dusting now,after morning tea and the kids just toddle around after me. I clean the toilets, mirrors(I love the Windex wipes, they are awesome, and generally I use a few wipes for our large ensuite mirror and then use them to wipe over the window sill and the tops of the tiles on the bottom of the walls, door moulds, and frames etc) and wipe over the vanities in the bathrooms. I just spray the shower in the ensuite with cleaning product, Jif etc, and Noel generally cleans it with a scrubbing brush when he has a shower at night, so that I am not inhaling the fumes whilst pregnant.
The kids bath gets done when they have their lunch time sleep or later on in the day.
I usually vaccum the floor during lunchtime, its the best way, when the twins are strapped into their highchair and well occupied by food!! haha
They don't hate the vacuum, and usually just follow me around watching anyway, but I get the job done alot faster, and if I do it during lunch, it means I can mop whilst they have their sleep at about 1pm.

So there you have it, how I normally get my house clean, with 3 littlies, under 3 years, and to be honest, now that I have a set routine and plan, its not that hard!!

Doing little things each day helps too. Like sweeping, wiping all benchtops in the kitchen, the dining table after every use etc. I also make the beds when we get dressed every day. We also have a squigy that hangs on a suction hook in our shower, and after every shower, we wipe the screen down. This has contributed so much to the easiness of cleaning the shower screen and keeping it looking squeaky clean. It only takes 2 seconds, gives you a chance to drip dry, and once its a part of your routine, you don't even think twice!

The vain of my life, might very well be the high chairs though!!Argh!!
If someone created a highchair that was self cleaning, I was sooo be their first customer!! With the twins, and sometimes eating in them up to 5 times a day , with 3 meals and snacks, that is one hell of alot of cleaning!
However, I have a little method here too! After the kids meal, I grab a new flannel from the linen cupboard, which is conveniently in the hallway adjacent to the dining room and wipe over the babies hands , face etc before letting them down to play. I also use the flannel to wipe over the high chair tray and seat (we use Ikea highchairs), I sweep up the carnage on the floor with a dustpan, wipe over with the flannel any mess on the floor and put the flannell in the wash. A new one is used for each meal. Easy.

Washing- As previously mentioned, we do a few loads of washing everyday. Especially in these colder months. With 3 kids, 2 adults, Noel at footy training, the babies in cloth nappies and several flannels, towels, rugs , there is more than enough washing to warrant these loads.
Some days , I may do more like 4-6 loads, and I would say we wash about 20 loads in a week. Sheesh!!
Keeping in mind , we are doing swimming lessons at the moment, and like I said, 3 days of sweaty, yucky footy gear! nice
Up until just recently, believe it or not, we haven't really been able to manage to get out to the washing line to hang it out. Weird I know, but with babies that weren't walking, and a jam packed day, sometimes hanging it out was easy, it was the getting it in before it had been there for days thing , that really proved to be difficult. We own a dryer, but don't really like the idea of putting full loads in there when there is a perfectly good, and free, sun to dry them! This is where the good , old fashion, clothes hoists came to play!
We own 2, and for the past 12 months , they have been constantly full! Its so easy to hang the washing on them , pop them under the patio, then purhaps out in the sun during the day, and bring them in before it got moist. Later in the night , when the kids are in bed, we would take the washing off and fold it up etc.
It worked for us, it might for you , maybe?

Daily dishes either get washed straight away, or loaded into the dishwasher straight away (I am not very good at using the dishwasher, so I avoid that, old fashioned I guess). I am fine to leave the dishes to dry naturally, at least its clean dishes on my sink, not dirty ones!

Bathing- To bath our kids, we now bath them all together, in the main bathroom, with one parent watching them. Generally this is Noel, and I am chopping veg etc , and during this time, I also gather all their pyjamas and things.
We dress our kids in Stella's room. I don't know how this started, but it works , so we continue. Her bedroom is the closest to the bathroom and its quite comfortable to change them on the bed or floor mat in her room, and at least we are keeping the rogue child, who is not getting dressed, contained in a small area, and the room is alot warmer too!!  I set the pyjamas, singlet, nappy or knickers and bed socks out in kiddy piles on the bed and any creams that each child may need, for easy access and efficiency.

I have Menu Planned for our home for some time now. I Love it!! Now that I use the system week by week and am able to go food shopping weekly (Since selling the salon and having more time, before now it has been quite sporatic and very hard to plan anything) it has made life soooo much easier, and yummier!!
I used to plan our meals, even when I shopped every now and then , but now I am more diligent and Noel is offering suggestions.
I find I have more time at the busy times of the day, when there is alot more going on than just dinner, like bath and bed for twins, and it makes me feel more in control. Always important, right!?
I gather inspiration from friends, TV, magazines, family, our likes etc, but our meals are nothing special.
By Menu planning, I am able to look on the fridge every morning, know what to get out of the freezer to defrost, and its ready to go to start being prepared by lunch time. This time of the day for me is really important, and yes , I should be resting, but its too invaluable to our home for me to do that.
I also LOVE using the slow cooker, and I am able to put this on at lunchtime, chop the necessary ingredients to put in it, then chop the vegies etc later on when Noel is feeding the twins their dinner.

Last weeks and the week before's meal plans! I am currently using Inner B planner pads, they have a magnet on the back to attach to the fridge, however, when these run out I will start to use the free download from HERE.

And again, but with my Recipe Journal. This is all handwritten , family recipes , that my sister gave to us as a wedding present over 6 years ago. I still use this little beauty nearly every day for something and its where I get alot of our dinners from too!

I try to plan our meals around what is happening. So , for instance, on training nights, I make easy stuff, or things that taste ok when reheated in the microwave when Noel gets home. On football game nights, its easy peasy meals or it would result in takeaway.
Last week was;
Mon- Beef Casserole in Slow Cooker
Tues - Chicken wings with Continental rice and salad - F/T
Wed- Lamb shanks in Slow Cooker
Thurs- Burritos with rice - F/T
Fri- Chicken Curry in Slow Cooker (this ended up being Take away after a later than expected trip to the Lavendar farm with friends :))
Sat- Football club
Sun- Corned beef in Slow cooker with Roast Veges and mustard sauce

Snack- Mango Fruit Cake

This week; Not shown in pic
Mon- Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta with Pinenuts and cherry tomatoes- WINNER
Tues- Curried Sausages in Slow Cooker with vegies
Wed- Grilled Fish with salad
Thurs- Veal Parma with Chips and Salad
Fri- Apricot Chicken
Sat- Nachos

Snack- Triple Choc Muffins

The Yummy and very popular with everyone, even the babies, Mango Fruit cake!
If anyone has any ideas, favourite meals etc, please feel free to share. I am always trying to change it up a bit! I do try and plan at least one meal that is Meat free, not only is it easier on the hip pocket, but its good for you too!

I think that is about all, well its all the main things, and as much as I can think of right now, if you have any questions or any advice, please share. Like I said, every little bit helps, and its all just trying to make our lives that bit easier and therefore more enjoyable, or at least have some more quality time to share with our kids, playing lego or something!
I do feel like I need a disclaimer though, we work as a team in our house. Yes , I cook, and I clean, but Noel does soo much more , and by him helping to feed and bath, it allows me to organise vegies, get pyjamas, all that stuff. He is out of the house at least 2 nights a week for football training. Usually on these days he gets home from work at 4:45pm, and leaves by 5pm to travel the 45mins for training (he plays for a lovely rural club), and so these nights are harder. But thankfully, quite often, my Mum comes up to help me put the kids to bed. Its quite difficult, with the routine we have established with them, to put them to bed solo. We take them individually , to the front toy room, in the dark, to get into their grobags, and drink their night time bottle, and then put them to bed . All quietly. Rather hard if you have a rogue toddler roaming around , wanting to join in!! So the spare hands  entertain Twin #2 and keep them quiet and distant.
Oh and  I also have a beautiful ironing lady!! I HATE , like loath , ironing, and so I can totally justify the $20-$30  we spend per week , purely for the convenience of going to the cupboard and wearing beautiful , pressed clothes. She is worth her weight in gold, for real!!

Hope its help, and like I said, share away :)


  1. I feel exhausted just after reading that!!! Your a great mum, doing a fantastic job. A true inspiration to a lot of women!! xx

  2. Awesome post Liz, just what I needed to read. You have motivated me. I can do this too. Thanks

  3. this is pretty much what I do exactly! although I dont have twins (a 3 year old and 1 year old) and I agree what is it with the floor I feel so much better about life when the floor is clean :) Kelly (found you through Jade's blog)

  4. Wow! Impressive! I agree with Jess, I'm exhausted already!! I am nowhere near that organised Liz!! I like being organised but I never seem to be able to achieve it! You do remind me of Jess tho... she seems to be so well organised all the time too... must be a personality thing! Haha!

  5. I like to have a clean, clutter free house BUT just don't seem to be able to get the energy or inclination to do it.

    At times the house is such a mess that it makes me cry trying to work out where to start.

    Good on you for the work that you do keeping your family happy and healthy. Hopefully reading all the wonderful blogs out there by lovely organised mums some of that will rub off on me. I know that the lack of storage, limited help from my partner and previous pnd contribute.

    Thank you for being so honest.



Thankyou for taking the time to read and more importantly comment on my blog. They are all so appreciated! Liz x