Archives For Extraordinary Home

Just Need Bread

September 23, 2015 — Leave a comment

Erma Bombeck store quote

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“If we don’t clean this bathroom soon, we’re going to need shots to use it!”

“Hurry, someone just pulled in the driveway! Grab everything near you and throw it in a closet, cabinet, or the dishwasher!”

“Argh!!!!! I can’t think straight in the middle of all this mess!”

These are all statements I’ve made when talking about our house. Since weekdays are busy, our family goal is to clean on Saturdays. However, it takes about 6 hours to get the house to “mom clean,” so it’s easy for other plans to interrupt cleaning.

The strain of knowing what needs to be done and not having time to do it makes my stress level soar! So instead of our home being a relaxing refuge from the world we all desire, it becomes nothing but tense turf. Because we all know when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Something would have to change to maintain sanity and healthy family relationships.

I began with a plan. My kids still need to learn responsibility so I made the decision they would continue to take turns doing laundry and dishes, they would be responsible for keeping their rooms clean, and they would take turns each Saturday cleaning their bathroom.

The rest of the cleaning duties were written down and split throughout the week. Testing and tracking revealed each weekday took 1 hour of cleaning. To make this doable, I simply cut back on social media. Weekend tasks don’t take as long and fit well with any additional plans made by the family.

It’s been two months and the changes within our household are amazing!

  • Our house is consistently clean making it a joy to welcome visitors.
  • My stress level has decreased which makes the entire family happier.
  • I’m now more efficient in other tasks since cleaning worry and guilt no longer take brain space.
  • Our home is now the refuge we desired.

Is this method for everyone? No! Some find it easier to do everything in 1 day, others to receive daily emails with tasks assigned, and many who want their kids to have more responsibility than in this plan.

What is the right way? Whatever works for YOU. I’m simply sharing this method as an option for anyone who find themselves in a similar situation.

Here is the plan:

Weekly Cleaning Plan

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© 2015 Connie Davis Johnson

Easy Laundry Plan

January 8, 2014 — Leave a comment

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Hate laundry?  Try the following simple method to make laundry manageable.

Use a central basket system

  • Choose a location in the house and provide 4 laundry baskets total for everyone to use.  This can be in the laundry room, in a closet, or another convenient place.
  • Use one basket for towels and sheets, one for whites, one for colors, and one for darks.
  • Every person then brings their dirty clothes to these central baskets.
  • Once a basket is full, it’s ready to be washed.

Get kids involved

  • Assign each child a week for laundry duties.
  • Train them to keep an eye on the laundry baskets and wash whenever a basket becomes full.
  • Instruct each child on the rules for laundry.  Teach them how to set up the washing machine and dryer.  Let them know which baskets need to be washed in hot and which need to be washed in cold (this can be marked on the baskets as a reminder).  Also instruct on the amount of detergent to use, if dryer sheets should be added to the dryer, and how to use stain removers.
  • Spend time teaching folding techniques so there is consistency with each load.

Clothing tips

  • Buy 2 week’s worth of socks and underwear for each family member.  There will be less “emergency” loads when everyone is fully stocked.
  • Each person is responsible for communicating when an item of clothing needs special attention.
  • In an inconspicuous spot, mark each person’s socks, underwear, and other clothing with their initials.  This will help avoid confusion when folding and returning laundry.
  • Once laundry is washed and folded, each person’s stack of clean clothes is placed on their bed to be put away.

Although there are many ways to tackle laundry, this system has worked well for our family for many years.  What has worked well for you?

© 2014 Connie Davis Johnson

This is not a “bring the family together” type of dessert.  When I make it, there’s quite a bit of arguing over who is sneaking all the pieces.  Nobody needs to know it’s Mom!  Hey, since I’m usually the mediator, I feel I can be the troublemaker once in a while.  Strangely, the rebel in me usually comes out when there’s chocolate involved.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Delight

Ingredients:

1 tube refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough

1 package cream cheese (8 ounces)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 package whipped topping (12 ounces), thawed and divided

3 cups cold milk

1 package instant chocolate pudding mix (3.9 oz.)

1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz.)

Directions:

1.  Let cookie dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

2.  Press dough into ungreased 9×13 pan.

3.  Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool.

4.  In large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.

5.  Fold in 1 3/4 cup whipped topping.  Spread over crust.

6.  In large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes then let stand for 2 minutes until soft set.

7.  Spread over cream cheese layer.

8.  Top with remaining whipped topping.

9.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

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Taco Casserole

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

Taco Casserole

May 14, 2013 — 3 Comments

100_5034and1From my friend, Mary Holman, who knows a thing or two about feeding a big family.  This has become one of my kids favorites!

Ingredients:

1 package crescent rolls            1 (16 oz.) sour cream

1 1/2 pounds ground beef          1 package (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese

1 package taco seasoning        1 package (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 (8 oz.) jar taco sauce                 Taco chips (13 oz), crushed

Directions:

1.  Line the bottom of 9×13 pan with crescent rolls.

2.  Brown the ground beef and drain.

3.  Add taco seasoning and taco sauce to meat.  Mix well.

4.  Spread meat over crescent rolls.

5.  Spread sour cream over top.

6.  Sprinkle cheeses over sour cream.

7.  Then spread crushed chips on top.

8.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Note:  May need to cover with foil during last 5-10 minutes so chips won’t burn.

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Potato Chip Chicken

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

 

Potato Chip Chicken

March 12, 2013 — 2 Comments

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Ingredients:

3 pound bag boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 bag Sour Cream and Onion Chips

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Milk

Directions:

1.  Crush chips in large ziplock.

2.  Dip chicken in milk and then place in ziplock with chips.

3.  Shake bag until chicken is coated with chips.

4.  Place in 9×13 pan and sprinkle leftover chips on chicken.

5.  Drizzle melted butter over chicken.

6.  Cover pan loosely with tin foil and bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  Remove foil for the last 15 minutes in oven.

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Crockpot Pulled Pork Burritos

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

 

101_5013Quick prep makes this perfect to put in Crockpot before work to return and find dinner ready afterwards.

Ingredients:

1 (2 – 2 1/2 pound) boneless pork loin roast

2 cups barbecue sauce

3/4 cup chunky style salsa

3 Tablespoons chili powder

3 teaspoons taco seasoning

9 (8-10″) flour soft shells

Directions:

1.  Place pork roast in Crockpot.

2.  In small bowl, combine all remaining ingredients, except soft shells; mix well.

3.  Pour mixture over pork.

4.  Cover, cook on low 8-10 hours.

5.  Shred pork with 2 forks.

6.  Serve on soft shells.

Note:  We ran out of soft shells and discovered these are also wonderful on buns.

Tip:  Wrap burritos in foil and freeze.  To reheat, place wrapped burritos in oven at 350° for 20-25 minutes.  Or just freeze the pork, thaw in fridge when ready to use, and heat on stove top.

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Quick Mushroom Swiss Burgers

Organizational Tip

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

Organizational Tip!

February 5, 2013 — 1 Comment

Organization tip using zippered plastic bags

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

Only takes about 30 minutes to make.  Perfect for a weeknight meal.

101_5001Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 1/2 pounds sliced fresh mushrooms

2 cans cream of mushroom soup (10 3/4 oz. each)

1 cup water

8 slices Swiss cheese

hamburger buns

Directions:

1.  Shape meat into patties.

2.  In large skillet, cook patties over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink.

3.  Drain on paper towels.

4.  Saute mushrooms in drippings until tender.

5.  In microwave safe bowl, combine soup and water.

6.  Cover and microwave on high 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes or until heated through.

7.  Return patties to skillet.

8.  Stir in soup and bring to a boil.

9.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes.

10.  Remove from heat.

11.  Top each burger with cheese; cover and allow cheese to melt.

12.  Serve on buns with mushrooms.

Note:  The mushroom sauce is also wonderful on baked potatoes.

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Weeknight Chicken Marsala with Mushroom Pasta

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

The first time I tried this recipe, my kids loved it.  I made them sign the recipe card to avoid arguments when they undoubtedly would forget and try to turn their noses up at it the next time.  My plan worked!  Mom – 1, Kids – 0.

101_4998Ingredients

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

4 teaspoons, minced garlic

1 stick butter, divided

4 1/2 cups hot water

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 envelopes fettuccine and chicken flavored sauce mix (4.3 ounces)

3 pound bag boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 tablespoons sour cream

Directions

1.  In a large saucepan, sauté mushrooms and garlic in 4 tablespoons butter for 4-5 minutes or until tender.

2.  Add water and broth.

3.  Bring to a boil.

4.  Stir in pasta mix.

5.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender.

6.  Meanwhile, flatten chicken to 1/2 inch thickness.

7.  In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt, and pepper.

8.  Add chicken to bag, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat.

9.  In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil and 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.  (I use an electric skillet at 350° so I can cook all the chicken at once.)

10.  Remove pasta mixture from heat and stir in sour cream.

11.  Serve pasta with chicken.

Prep time is only 30 minutes.  Great for a weeknight meal.

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson