9 Things You Should Clean More in The Kitchen

After a month of being sick a while back and still being worn down from it, I realized there are simply a lot of things in the kitchen that get missed when you are not feeling super up to cleaning. I am not the perfect housewife. Who is? 

Nine things you should clean more in your kitchen. www.simplymoms.net

The refrigerator coils.

What is that? Yup, that is the coils under my fridge. The were vacuumed about two weeks ago. With our dogs, and kids running in and out dust accumulates fast. With all that dust your fridge and mine will not run efficiently. Vacuum them often. To keep your fridge running well and to cut down on your power bill.

remember to clean your refrigerator coils it will run better and save on your power bill

The sink sprayer.

My kitchen sink sprayer every so often seems to get a mind of its own and spray everywhere or slow to a trickle. Soaking the sprayer in a cup of vinegar will remove all the nasty hard water build up.

Cleaning the sink sprayer will help it spray better.

Oh, my gosh behind that sink!

**Blush** Yes I do clean it but with five other people using the sink and a toddler playing at it this happens fast and can be overlooked. I spray bleach behind here and it all whitens right back up.

Cleaning behind your kitchen sink

The microwave so used and often so forgotten.

Yes, it happens to the best of us. My kids tend not to cover anything so we end up with this. However a bowl of water with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice microwaved for 4 minutes or so and left to sit for 15 minutes (Let the steam build; so do not open the door) and after just wipe it all away. Easy peasy.

Microwave cleaning tips

Under the stove and other large appliances

Yes, they are heavy but, please pull them out every so often and clean. Have a big strong type help move them.  😉 Or give you a workout. And no lol that is not a dead rat way under there it is cardboard. Thank you, Miss Toddler for the heart fail.

Cleaning under appliances

 

The oven (Is something burning?)

Every so often my husband will ask me what I am burning. Generally, I start the oven after someone spilled something once again in the bottom of the oven. Of course, my intent is to clean it right away. Well, that was the intent anyhow. My oven is self-cleaning. It is a blessing and a curse. It cleans great but heats my house up better than the furnace and the smoke and fumes are terrible. Not to mention it is expensive to run.

Cleaning the oven

The dishwasher just because it washes does not mean it is clean!

How does it even happen? I mean it washes? But yes it needs cleaning. I run it with nothing but a bowl full of vinegar on the top rack at the hottest setting. After I wipe down all the edges and seal.

dishwasher cleaning tip

 

That overflowing junk drawer.

I think we all know it needs to be done and many of us just shove the drawer shut again or even um… start another junk drawer.

Clean out the junk drawer

 

 

Yes, even those window tracks.

Winter is over.  So we all need to remember to let in the fresh air minus all the dusty dirty window tracks and screens. I simply wipe them down including the screen while I am at it.

Clean the window tracks and screens

 

Now… I am off to cleancleaning smiley

 

Do you have any great kitchen cleaning tips? Please share them in the comments below.

Love Jennifer

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Whirlpool Cabrio Washer Dead in Three Months

I am really not one to post a negative review and I will say some good will come out it from Whirlpool themselves. However, this “top of the line”  washing machine became a huge waste of not only money but time as well.

 

Whirlpool Cabrio Review

 

The little things I did not like.

This machine is a non-agitator top loading machine. I seriously wanted one and drooled over this machine for the longest time. I got it home and realized  I am 5’2″ tall I can not reach the inside bottom of this machine without leaning half in and having to hyperextend my arm.If there is a sock or something very flat at the bottom I struggle to fish it out. It makes doing laundry for this short lady a task.

Whirlpool Cabrio Drum

You can not just toss laundry in. It needs to be loaded around the tiny “agitator” plate and not cover it. Otherwise, things will become unbalanced and not wash properly.

Speaking of not washing properly sheets, comforters and other large items tend to get stretched out across the load and the middle does not get wet or wash at all sometimes. That one spot on the stretched item will just remain dry and unwashed because the water jets spray around the edges.

The tinted glass makes it hard to see in the machines. It is not a big deal for the dryer but because of the issues with the washer, it would be nice to make sure the load is washing properly so if you had to you could readjust it.

 

The positive things.

I love the color of the machines they are a shiny gray they refer to as chrome.

The dryer seems to work well it has a ton of settings including steam (However I do not have the water hooked up to it so no idea how well that works.)

The tinted glass does look nice.

The dryer’s lint screen is super easy to clean out.

Happy Three Months The Washer Is Dead

Yup, you read that right the washer is dead. One night it started flashing error codes and whirlpool said to unplug it for five minutes, plug it back in and it would be fine. WRONG, so wrong. I plugged it back in thinking I would get back to washing clothes. It would not power back on. Dead as a doornail. That was well over a month ago. The story gets even better. You ready for this?

We got online and contacted Whirlpool that night and set up warranty service for the next day. Awesome! Just a little hick up. Or so we thought.

The repair man came out. Surprise, it is broken. (You don’t say?)It needed a panel and board.He ordered the parts assuring us it would take a week to ten days. It’s been a month plus. We have put in call after call to the repair place. Nope, no part. Nope, they can’t track it? (The repair place is a whole other nightmare)

So with it being over the month mark we are frustrated and decide to figure out ourselves where the part is. Interestingly they do not know. How can they not know? They sent it. So they tell my husband they will send another and expedite it. A week later still no part. So My husband calls Whirlpool AGAIN. He gets a supervisor on the phone guess what? That part is on back order.

Whirlpool’s Resolution

This supervisor did take the time to listen to the whole situation and she did admit that these washers are an issue.(Hence the reason the parts are on back order) In fact, they are redesigned now or in the process of it. After listening she told him to pick a new washer and they would ship it. So now we are waiting on a new front loader to show up. So I am unhappy that they made such a horrible machine that seems to be failing for a lot of people. With that said I am happy my husband really pressed the issue with them and they found a way to resolve it. I am praying the new machine is far better and last like my other Whirlpool front loader did.

 

As for the repair man, the place they warranted through is a complete joke and he seems to be collecting warranty work money and never finishing it. he has complaints through the BBB, and tons of bad reviews online for horrible treatment of customers. Much of the same issues we had with him. I tend to think he got the first part and used it elsewhere. He promised us a loner machine over a week ago and never brought it he was a no call no show day after day. Shaking my head.

 

As Pa Ingalls said, “Alls well that ends well.”

 

I dislike posting negative reviews but, I also feel with the priceyness of this item buyers should be forewarned. I wish I was.

Please be sure to subscribe to this blog if you enjoyed this post.

Love Jennifer

 

This blog is part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s workshop this week I chose this prompt “1. Write about a time you wasted your money.”
Mama’s Losin’ It

Books Little Miss Toddler Loves

The one thing I have always loved doing was reading to my children. My fifteen year old still likes me to read to him to this day. Now, Little Miss Toddler loves books every bit as much as my children did and she is always bringing me a book and her favorite blanket and climbing up into my lap asking me to read to her.

The suggested book images are affiliate links from Amazon. I make a small commission on them for you using the links. This does not cost you anything extra.

Giraffes Can’t Dance

Is a colorfully illustrated story about a giraffe who thinks he can not dance. But an unlikely friend gives him words of encouragement and he is soon dancing to his own music. Little Miss loves the animals in this book and the bright and funny illustrations.

Goodnight Moon

A classic children’s must have for saying good night. Little Miss is in love with the moon. The moment she touched this book it was a favorite.

In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.

Ten Little Monkeys

Little miss loves the repetitiveness and the silly pictures of the monkeys jumping on the bed. A classic rhyming story that helps develop number skills. I have been listening to her recite this now for days. So it is clear it is well loved.

Peek-Who?

Two things Little Miss loves animals and surprises. This book has both as it provides only a peek of what animal will be on the next page through the die cuts. It is very colorful and a rhyming text. For me, it is a short read which is nice for those times I am busy and want to read her a quick book.

What are your toddler’s favorite books?

Love Jennifer

My Kitchen Banana Blunder & Banana Bread Recipe Share

So get ready for some kitchen humor and a recipe.

I do not consider myself a great cook. I am hardly a good cook depending on what I am making and if I am in the mood to be making anything period. If I am enjoying cooking things come out better. If it is drudgery It’s generally not going be a good meal.  I do love to bake but, again when the mood strikes.

So me not being a pro in the kitchen lends itself to this story.

One night my husband came home with these huge very green bananas. A friend had given them to him and they were terribly hard and clearly not at all ripe.

So I told my daughter to just set them on the counter to ripen.

Two days later still green and hard as a rock? What on earth? Maybe they were picked too soon? Maybe somehow we could speed up the ripening process?

 

So Google to the rescue. Place them in a paper bag… Hmmm to long speedier than that I mean we want to make banana bread today not next month at this rate.

 

Wait? The oven? Yes!!!

300 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes and they will ripen. A method great if you plan to bake with them. BINGO! So in the oven, they go unpeeled as it stated on the website on a cookie sheet. Easy peasy. 30 minutes go buy,..still green well, they were VERY under-ripe 40, 50, 1 hour still pretty much green! So, maybe longer? Two hours… They are black! YES!!!!

Out they come black as midnight and hard as rocks!!! I am baffled and my kids are legit in hysterics with laughter t this point. No one even cares anymore they wanted banana bread because these bananas are giving Mom a time and they think it is the funniest thing.

So I tell them “I am done toss those things in the trash there is clearly something wrong with them.”

After the last blackened hard as a rock banana slips into the trash something dawns on me.

Plantains

Do you know what these are?

If you said Plantains you are correct!!!!!

If you said big green bananas (Well some do call them that but they are not the same thing) … “Mostly”  wrong LOL and they will never turn yellow or ripen to eat not because they need to be cooked! (According to Wiki some do eat them raw but…. ) LOL They are a starchy food people often fry, broil, boil, roast or bake them. They certainly are not what I thought they were.

So I did go out and buy over ripe bananas the next day and make banana bread. However, the best thing is when we are all sitting around and one of my kids start to tell the story for the hundredth time because it just never gets old.

 

And now if you want banana bread here is a recipe I have used a bunch of times.

Classic Banana Bread from ( MyRecipes)

You need:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray

For the rest of the directions please [Read more at MyRecipes]

Do you have a favorite banana recipe? We would love for you to share it with us!

We are proud to be part of Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop Link up.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Pretty Much Fool Proof Lasagna Simple Version

If you are looking for fancy, complicated superbly homemade lasagna you may want to continue searching.

This is how I have made Lasagna for 24 years for my large family. It is simple and we all can agree that we like it. Finding something that a family of ten all liked was a challenge so I stuck with it and changed very little over the years. It does not include onions we do not care for them but they could be added along with anything else you like.

One major change I did make over the years was that I switched ricotta out for cottage cheese. I have a son that hates ricotta but likes the cottage cheese and the rest of us like it as well.

Lasagna simple recipe www.simplymoms.net

What you will need:

2 pounds ground beef

Green pepper chopped

Onion chopped (Optional)

Salt and paper to taste

2 Jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 box Lasagna noodles

2 cups mozzarella cheese

Large container cottage cheese

Lasagna ingredients

Brown the ground beef, chopped onions ( If you are using them ) and chopped green peppers together in a large frying pan until the ground beef is cooked through. Once cooked drain the ground beef well. We skipped the onions because no one here likes them.

Chopped Green Pepper

 

Chopped green pepper and Ground Beef

Return to the pan once the ground beef is drained well and stir in the sauce. Heat until how though out and set aside. ** I noticed my sauce was slightly watery. So I added a small amount of parmesan and mozzarella to thicken it up a bit. Boil water in a large stock pot for the lasagna noodles. I add a couple tablespoon of oil and salt to my pasta water.

Adding in sauce

 

Once the pasta is cooked. Drain it and cool it off with cold tap water.Just so they are easier to handle. Now you can start layering your lasagna. As you will see Little Miss Toddler joined me. She loves to help.  I really don’t mind. Though I did have to keep telling her to keep those little feet away from the dinner we were making.

I lightly oil my lasagna pan. Some people do not. I do.

The first layer is pasta. I am not fussy in the way I lay them down. If you want to be fancy have at it .

pasta

The second layer is the meat sauce. I put mine on pretty heavy.

and then…. You guessed it another layer of pasta. Sometimes I will do a thin layer of mozzarella over the meat sauce this night I didn’t. The cheese holds the lasagna together better for slicing.

Layering lasagna

Over this layer, you will layer on the cottage cheese and then a thick layer of mozzarella cheese.

Adding cheese to the lasagna

As you can see my little helper has arrived.  Over the cheeses, you will add yet another layer of pasta, over that meat sauce and again a layer of pasta.

Toddler adding pasta to lasagna

last but not least you will be adding mozzarella cheese to the top. We like lots of it.

Toddler adding cheese to lasagna

Place your lasagna in a 350-degree oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. I like to serve mine with fresh bread and a green salad.

Lasagna and a green salad

 

I love the fact that cooking brings my children and Granddaughter into the kitchen. Skills like cooking are very important for children to learn. Even the youngest toddler can help out with simple tasks. My children have always enjoyed eating what they cooked.

Teen son helping brown the ground beef for lasagna

Is there anything different you do with your lasagna? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Love Jennifer

Color Easter Eggs With What You Have In Your Cabinets!

Did you by chance forget that egg dye kit to color Easter eggs?

Food Dye red blue green yellow for coloring easter eggs www.simplymoms.net

No problem!

I bet you have everything you need right in your kitchen cabinets to dye beautiful vibrant or pastel eggs. Water? White vinegar? Food dye? Good! Let’s go then!

Color Easter Eggs with food dye www.simplymoms.net

 

Hard Boiled Eggs cooked and cooled.

For each color you make you will need:
1/2 cup boiling water

1 Teaspoon white vinegar

20 or more drops of liquid food dye

How to color eggs with food dye for easter www.simplymoms.net

** We used twenty drops you could use more for a more vibrant color. With twenty drops there was less staining on Little Miss Toddlers hands.

So in a coffee mug or container of your choice add the boiling water, vinegar and food coloring color(s) of your choice.

To color, the eggs just place the in the egg dye and let them soak. Shorter times result in pastel colors and longer times will result in vibrant colors.

Easter eggs colored with food dye www.simplymoms.net

We had never done them without a kit but I feel like I could control how much staining Little Miss Toddler would have on her hands by making it myself.What little staining there was washed right of in the bath.

 

Toddler coloring Easter eggs www.simplymoms.net

Happy Easter from all of us at Simply Moms.

 

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Love Jennifer

Friday Favorites From Little Miss Toddler

Little Miss Toddler has a rough couple of weeks a cough, fever and an ear infection. She remained the sweetest happiest little girl I know through it all. This is a little glimpse into her world. Her Friday Favorites.

Little Miss Toddler and her Friday Favorites

  1. Barbies

    This little girl adores her Barbies and thanks to Great Nana and I she has a large collection of about 25 of them. I had her pull a few of her favorites from the large pile. Her Uncle J. Bought her a small Barbie house that has a toilet and her Barbies spend a lot of time using that and jumping on the bed.

Barbies both new and vinatge

2. Pink

She clearly understands this week what having a favorite color means. She is choosing pink these days on a regular basis. This photo was a challenge because though she helped me pick all the pink stuff she wanted to show you. She also wanted to play with it LOL.

Pink

3. The Foot Book by Dr. Suess

When I asked her to bring me her favorite book I knew this would be the one. I know it by heart, she knows it word for word. Hands down this little girls favorite. It is one of my favorites as well.

The Foot Book by Dr Suess

4. VTech Go! Go! Smart Friends Enchanted Princess Palace

This gets played with every single day. She immerses herself into pretend play. Interestingly she keeps the sound off. She loves making her “people” go up the stairs and talk. She uses her Little People (Fisher Price) to place with this set as well. My joy is listening in on her pretend play.

VTech Go! Go! Smart Friends Enchanted Princess Palace

5. Being out side.

This girl is so happy that the snow is gone. We spent an hour out on the deck the other day blowing bubbles and playing. She kept coming to me telling me it was sunny out and hot. Such joy on her little face. Little Miss Toddler reminds me daily of the simple joys in life.

Sunglasses and outside

What are your toddler’s favorite things this week?

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Love Jennifer

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Five on Friday Link Up

7 Ways To Creatively Use Up Those Hard Boiled Eggs From Easter

I do not know about your children but my kids love to dye hard boiled eggs for Easter. What they do not like is eating the bazillion eggs they colored. So over the years, I have used them in a bunch of different and creative ways so they get eaten up!

Easter Eggs hard eoiled eggs and what to do with them after Easter

  1. Add them to a salad.

    We love adding hard-boiled eggs to salads. Either a green salad or some sort of pasta salad. Very simple and healthy. Simply slice them up and add them.

  2. Meatloaf Surprise!

    I do this with my normal recipe. (Though the recipe in the video looks yummy as well.)  It makes it a tad different with the eggs running through the center. When my kids were little they thought it was magic.

  3.  Deviled Eggs my personal favorite!

    Head on over to WikiHow to get four fantastic deviled egg recipes from classic to something a bit more flair.  http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Deviled-Eggs

  4. Of course, there is the old standby of Eggs Salad Sandwiches

    Very simple and I am sure hands down my children’s favorite.

  5. Slice them and add them to any sandwich.

    Add boiled egg to your sandwich www.simplymoms.net

  6. Add them to your potato salad.

    Many families in our parenting group are in warm enough weather to BBQ. What better way to use up those eggs than to bring a huge potato salad with lots of hard boiled eggs added in?

  7. Don’t overlook your dog.

    Eggs are a great source of very digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium. So an egg will be a welcome and healthy treat for them as well. (Source moderndogmagazine.com)

What to do with hard boiled eggs left over from easter www.simplymoms.net

 

Be sure to follow us for more articles like this one.

Love Jennifer

We are linking up with week with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

 

Mama’s Losin’ It

You Know You’re A Mom When

After chasing Little Miss Toddler around for half an hour this Grandma (Or Giga as she calls me) is tired! That diaper is ON though! Toddlers are such little whirlwinds of energy!

You know your a mom when

Chores and how to Successfully get the Children to Help

It often gets asked on the Simply Moms facebook Group how do you get your children to do chores? How much do you pay them to help out? Why won’t my kids clean their room and messes?

Having personally been through many stages of parenting. I have raised that child who does not want to lift a finger, the one who cleans everything in sight because they have OCD tendencies and all those in between.

Chores and getting children to help. www.simplymoms.net

I have been successful however in getting every child in my home to help out right down to Little Miss Toddler.

  1. Start when they are very young. 

    While a two-year-old will not have anywhere near the skills of your six or twelve-year-olds they can still help out with small age appropriate jobs and they should. This starts a firm foundation for life of understanding the value of being part of the family unit.

  2. We do not pay for chores.

    No-one pays mom to wash everyone’s dishes or wash clothes that everyone wore. We do not pay children for daily chores they are simply part of being a family and always have been. That has been our rule from day one. We pay with thank yous and I love yous.

  3. There are no assigned chores.

    We do things as they need to be done. Some days my son doesn’t mind dealing with the trash and other days he would rather go out and snow blow.  I tend to just call on the children as things need to be done so they are not stuck doing the same thing day after day.  It keeps the monotony at bay.

  4. Together is always more fun.

    If the yard needs cleaning you will find most of our family out there together cleaning. Even small things like dishes or cleaning a room are always more fun with help. Like the old saying, many hands make for light work.

  5. Make a game of it.

    Often times I will set a timer and we will race to see who can do the most. Or have a little one Play basketball with laundry that needs to be tossed in a hamper. We even incorporate learning with Little Miss Toddler such as asking her to pick up all the green blocks or pick up all the round toys.

  6. Give the whole family a reward for those big jobs.

    When the barn needing cleaning at the end of the weekend we all had a big cookout to celebrate. It’s not the same as a set allowance per chore it is more a celebration of coming together and working hard.

  7. Hold that Wifi!

    For the older children who love their computer time and such, we simply shut down the Wi-fi until things are done. Even as an adult I find it easier to get things done if I am no longer “connected”. It is a great incentive to get things done.

  8. Keep the rules simple.

    I have always taught my children you use it you put it away. You drop it you pick it up. It keeps it simple and them accountable for themselves.

  9. Cut down on things.

    As a family, we have cut way back on the clutter in our lives. It makes it far more easy to clean not only for myself but for the children to help out as well.

  10. Have a place for everything.

    If your children know where things go it will make helping with chores and be cleaning up after themselves much easier for you and them. When I need my can opener I know just where to look. Because everyone in the family knows where to put it after it has been used. A place for everything and everything in its place.

How do you get your children to help with chores? 

Be sure to stop by our parenting group for more on this topic from moms like you!

Love Jennifer

 

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This week we have linked up with The Homemaking Link up.