How to Make a S’mores Caddy

Make a S'mores Caddy via Clean Mama

This summer I’ve been doing a little prep work ahead of time in planning for some of our favorite summer activities.  One of the hands-down favorites around here?  S’mores in the firepit!  Gather a couple simple ingredients and keep them on hand for an impromptu summer (or fall) bonfire, over the grill, or if you’re desperate, in the microwave.  This s’mores caddy/kit would be great to bring as a little summer party hostess gift too.

 S'mores Caddy Supplies via Clean Mama

The ingredients (add or subtract your favorites) – you’ll need the basics (graham crackers, chocolate bars, marshmallows) and if you really want to be prepared, add napkins and baby wipes so you can just grab your caddy and head outside for fun!

 Put Together a S'mores Caddy via Clean Mama

Put the ingredients in a bin or container – I keep the s’mores kit in the pantry and I’m using a bin that I can re-purpose in the pantry after s’mores season is over.

Quick Tip - Keep Grill and Firepit Supplies in a Drawer so They're Handy and Accessible via Clean Mama

 I also keep the skewers in a grill drawer by the back door/patio so they’re easy to grab on the way out the door.

What are your favorite s’mores ingredients?

The Perfect Picnic Bag

The Perfect Picnic Bag via Clean Mama

I like to plan things out and being spontaneous isn’t one of my best qualities.  But I’ve found that I can embrace spontaneity with a little planning ahead.  And guess what?  No one needs to know that the surprise picnic was easy to pull together.  In the summer it’s fun to grab sandwiches for lunch or dinner and head to a park for a little impromptu picnic.  This perfect picnic bag is how I pull it off with ease.  It’s super easy to pull together – you might even have the necessities already!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a bag large enough to hold your supplies
  • plastic bags to tote away any garbage
  • disposable plates
  • wipes for hand and face wiping
  • silverware and napkins
  • plastic straws (if necessary)
  • bath towel to wipe down any tables or equipment
  • tablecloth for sitting on or covering a picnic table
  • large rocks (in a plastic bag) to hold down the picnic tablecloth or blanket

Picnic Bag Supplies via Clean Mama

I love having silverware ready to go – this works great for get-togethers and for this picnic tote.  If I’m doing this for a get together I’ll put the wrapped silverware in a basket at the start of the buffet line or in the middle of the table.  Easy peasy!  All you need is silverware (disposable or not), napkins, and washi tape.  Simply roll the silverware into the napkin and adhere a little washi tape to keep it together and that’s it!

Pre-Wrap Silverware via Clean Mama

Ready to make a little spontaneity in your meal planning?  My favorite part of picnic-ing (next to the quality family time, of course!)?  No kitchen mess!

Chores and Responsibilities for the Preschool Child + FREE Printables

Chores + Responsibilities for the Preschool Child via Clean Mama

It is a question that I receive often – how do I get my kids involved in cleaning? Just what chores are appropriate for their age?  With three kids of my own, two elementary aged and one preschooler, I feel as though I have honed in on just what to expect for a variety of ages. Today I am covering the preschool age group while the older kids will be covered next week.

Preschoolers are eager helpers and it’s hard to figure out just how to best harness their enthusiasm while giving them tasks that are actually useful. Depending upon the age and maturity of your child, there is a large variety of tasks that can be expected and accomplished by this age group. With this age group, modeling is especially important. For example, show them just how to dampen a washcloth and wring it out to wipe their face and hands or how to set the table appropriately with plates in the center and silverware on the left or right side. It will probably take more than one time for them to have it up to your expectations, so have patience as they learn the proper technique.

While not every child or age can be expected to complete every task in the list below, pick ones that fit your child or children’s age and maturity as well as your needs. After deciding ones that are good fits, use the blank list included in today’s download in order to make a checklist of sorts for your family.

With a little teaching and modeling, you will be surprised at just what your child is capable of.  Every little bit of help counts!

Household Chores

• wipe baseboards/cupboards with baby wipes
• help fold laundry- match socks, fold dishcloths and hand towels
• help sort laundry into whites and brights/darks
• help put away clean clothes
• clean windows with damp microfiber cloth
• pick up toys, put books in bookshelf
• help unload groceries
• water plants
• gather garbage
• vacuum corners and edges along baseboards
• wipe bathroom counter with dampened microfiber cloth
• dust lower shelves and items
• wipe doorknobs and switch plates

Morning/Evening Chores

• brush teeth
• brush hair
• wipe face with a warm, wet washcloth after eating
• make bed- pull up comforter/duvet and put pillow at the top
• put dirty clothes and pajamas in clothes basket
• get dressed in the morning and pajamas in the evening

Mealtime Chores

• set table with plates, napkins and appropriate silverware
• bring dirty dishes to sink when done eating
• wipe down table
• sweep up crumbs using a small dustpan and broom or handheld vacuum

How about some FREE printables to make implementing responsibilities for preschoolers a little easier?  I made 3 different colors of a simple chore chart and I also put the chores and responsibilities that I listed on a free printable.  Grab the zip file with all 4 free printables here and save and print what you will use and get your preschooler started with some simple and do-able responsibilities.

Free Chore Printables for the Preschool Child via Clean Mama

Here are a  couple more ideas to encourage cleaning up – click on the images to go straight to the posts.

Tools for Cleaning With Kids via Clean Mama

Simple Chore Chart and Reward System Your Kids Will Love via Clean Mama

30 plus things your kids can help clean - a room by room guide for the home via Clean Mama

 

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If you like these FREE printables you’ll love my HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY and the organizing printables in my shop!

This post is part of my SIMPLE SUMMER CHALLENGE – throughout the month I’m sharing ways to keep up with routines while having lots of fun in the process.  Go here to see the introduction post, and here to see all the posts in this series.  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more on this summer challenge!

Clean Mama's Simple Summer Challenge via Clean Mama

30+ Things Your Kids Can Clean : A Room-by-room Guide for the Home

30 plus things your kids can help clean - a room by room guide for the home via Clean Mama

With the onset of summer and the end of the school year, it isn’t long before both moms and kids crave a little routine and order. A looser summer schedule brings both freedom and a little extra chaos as messes tend to accumulate a little faster and are a little more rampant throughout the house.

To help offset the inevitable, I like to have my children help clean whenever and wherever possible. Even little ones can learn how to help with simple tasks that help to instill a sense of responsibility and pride. Older children benefit from routine and expectations to help the home run smoothly as well.

Whether you choose to use these room-by-room cleaning suggestions as chores or as incentives is up to you. These are some of the cleaning tasks that have been helpful and realistic in my home that I hope will inspire you to use them as a springboard for your family.

Bedrooms

  • Make bed. I use a fitted sheet on the kids’ beds paired with a washable quilt or duvet. This makes it easier for kids to simply pull up the cover and put the pillow at the top.
  • Help put away clean clothes as they are able.  Start with putting away socks and move on to other items as kids get older.
  • Put dirty clothes in laundry basket.
  • Put toys away. We try to use the rule that before a new toy or activity is taken out, the unused one needs to be put away.  We do several sweeps a day and check them before a special activity (screen time, snack time, friend time).

Bathrooms

  • Wipe down counter.  A damp and wrung out microfiber cloth with water works perfectly for cleaning up little spatters and spills. No harsh cleaners necessary.
  • Clean mirror.  A barely damp microfiber cloth is great for this task.
  • Refills empty toilet paper and tissue boxes.
  • Collect garbage.
  • Wipe down baseboards and around the perimeter of the bathroom with baby wipes.

Living Areas

  • Wipe baseboards with baby wipes.
  • Wipe light switches and door knobs.
  • Pick up toys. Check under couch and furniture for errant toys and odds and ends.

Kitchen

  • Help unload the dishwasher. Younger children can help sort silverware and older children can put away breakables, dishes and glasses.
  • Set the table.
  • Clear plates at the table, bringing dishes to sink.
  • Little ones can be taught how to use a small dustpan and broom to gather up crumbs and other little odds and ends as well as emptying it in to the garbage.
  • A handheld vacuum cleaner also works well for children to help with vacuuming up crumbs, small scraps, and kitchen floor debris.
  • Wipe the table down.
  • Help empty trash and sort recyclables.

Laundry

  • Help sort by color (whites, brights, and darks).
  • Sort and pair up socks.
  • Help make matches with pajamas and outfits.
  • Put clothes on hangers.
  • Collect garbage in the laundry room. I have a small trash basket in the laundry room for lint, tags, etc. that the kids take care of emptying when asked.

Pet Care

  • Take care of water and food for pets.  My oldest started this routine around 5 years old.
  • ‘Help’ with brushing and bathing.
  • Gather up pet toys at the end of the day to store in basket or container.

My Favorite Ways to Get Help in a Hurry

  • Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and work to clean an entire area or trouble spot.
  • Chore charts work well in our house to assure that kids have a visual reminder to check off daily.
  • Use completed tasks as ‘rewards’: once your clean room is cleaned up you can go play with your friends, take something else out, have screen time, etc.
  • Let kids help build a chore chart or responsibility chart. Taking ownership in the creation of the tasks will ensure a better success rate!

Here are a  couple more ideas to encourage cleaning up – click on the images to go straight to the posts.

Tools for Cleaning With Kids via Clean Mama

Simple Chore Chart and Reward System Your Kids Will Love via Clean Mama

This post is part of my SIMPLE SUMMER CHALLENGE – throughout the month I’m sharing ways to keep up with routines while having lots of fun in the process.  Go here to see the introduction post, and here to see all the posts in this series.  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more on this summer challenge!

 Clean Mama's Simple Summer Challenge via Clean Mama

The Clean Mama Cleaning Routine FREE Printable

The Clean Mama Cleaning Routine Free Printable via Clean Mama

As part of the Simple Summer Challenge, I’m encouraging you to incorporate a couple simple tasks into your routine.  These tasks are my normal cleaning routine, but if you haven’t tried them or followed through, try adding them in this summer and see how it works for you.  I made a cute printable for you today that might make it a little more fun to keep on track with the tasks.

The Clean Mama Cleaning Routine is the routine that I developed years ago (before blogging was a thing) to have a consistently clean home.  Cleaning the whole house on Saturdays after working all week was not working for me.  I had to do something every day and after trying out different configurations and combinations, this simple routine was the one that worked the best in all circumstances.  I’ve used it before kids and working multiple jobs, working with kids and traveling, as a stay-at-home mom, and as a work from home mom with three kids.  With as little as 15 minutes a day, you can make it work for you too.  If you need more help figuring out how to incorporate it into a busy schedule, go to this post.

The Clean Mama Cleaning Routine Free Printable close-up in binder via Clean Mama

If you home is in shambles and you don’t know where to start, don’t think you have to get everything in tip-top shape right away.  Break it down into manageable steps.  For instance, on Monday you can try speed cleaning your bathrooms, or alternatively just clean one bathroom really well.  Still too overwhelming?  Set your timer for 10-15 minutes and do what you can in that time frame and do the same thing the next week and the next until you are able to manage your bathrooms all on the same day.  It’s not about perfection!  It’s about ‘everyday a little something’.  Just do that little something every day and you’ll be able to add to it as your house gets whipped into shape.

The Clean Mama Cleaning Routine Infographic via Clean Mama

How about a little freebie to help you get into the routine?  Print, cut in half, put it on your fridge, in your homekeeping binder, on a clipboard, or anywhere you’ll see and use it.  Simply put the month in the top and every day do the tasks and check off the circle – easy, peasy!  If you don’t get to the task, that’s what Fridays are for – catch-all day (a day to catch up)!

The Clean Mama Cleaning Routine FREE Printable Checklist via Clean Mama

GRAB THE FREE PRINTABLE HERE or if you’d prefer, in googledocs here.

The FREE printable in this post coordinates perfectly with my brand new kit!   THE HOMEKEEPING FOUNDATIONS KIT – designed to help you get your life organized with ease!  Go to this post to see more about the kit.

Homekeeping Foundations MAIN via Clean mama

Managing a home can be complicated and I wanted to take the guesswork out of it and create something that is pretty to look at and functional.  Enter THE HOMEKEEPING FOUNDATIONS KIT.  Each section is color coded, it prints off in one easy print document OR you can print individual pages.  I also included an editable/fillable version for all you that ask for that.  It’s included in the listing.  AND, I also included the pages as half size (A5).  And guess what!?  I am also offering this kit as PRINTED FOR YOU.  For an additional price, you can get the whole digital kit PLUS I’ll send you the first copy professionally printed just for you!

Clean Mama's Simple Summer Challenge via Clean MamaThis post is part of my SIMPLE SUMMER CHALLENGE – throughout the month I’m sharing ways to keep up with routines while having lots of fun in the process.  Go here to see the introduction post, and here to see all the posts in this series.  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more on this summer challenge!

Kid-Friendly Cleaning Caddy + DIY Cleaning Spray

Kid-Friendly Cleaning Caddy + DIY Cleaning Spray via Clean Mama

With summer upon us, structure and routines change.  In our house, the kids are responsible at an early age (I start with simple tasks at 2 years old) for tasks and chores around the house.  It’s helpful for me, teaches responsibility, and keeps the nagging away.  With my cleaning routine I am doing a little bit of cleaning every day and I integrate that into the kids’ days as well.  We all do a little bit every day and it really is just a couple minutes to complete a couple simple tasks.  I have a couple tactics that I utilize with my kids (9, 7, and 3) and today I’m sharing one of my favorites – keep an eye out for more to come through the month.

I have found that keeping a little cleaning caddy in the mud room for the kids to use is helpful.  I keep it stocked with kid-friendly supplies so we can clean together and learn a little bit at the same time.  Here are the most-used and fought over supplies in the kids’ cleaning caddy.

Kid Friendly Cleaning Caddy via Clean Mama

Want to teach your kids how to help around the house with daily tasks and chores?  Make it EASY and FUN for them to help out!  Keep the tasks simple and age-appropriate for your house.  This cleaning caddy can be used daily or weekly, depending on what works for your family and schedule.

Need some ideas for what kids can do to help out around the house?  Here are a couple ideas to get you started:

  • make beds
  • fold and put away clothes
  • dust
  • wipe baseboards, door handles, light switches (baby wipes are great for this!)
  • dust surfaces
  • wipe windows and mirrors
  • take out garbage
  • wipe counters
  • wipe kitchen table
  • sweep under kitchen table
  • tidy up bedroom
  • wipe bathroom counter and sink
  • sweep/vacuum floors

(Obviously, you know your children and know what they can/cannot do on this list, this is merely a suggestion and starting point.  Please use care to provide non-toxic cleaners or water in a spray bottle for your children.)

Tools for Cleaning With Kids via Clean Mama

KIDS’ CLEANING SUPPLY SUGGESTIONS:

  • microfiber and/or cleaning cloths
  • sponge
  • baby wipes – great for baseboards and door knobs
  • small dusting wand – Target has the white ones
  • hand vacuum – I turn my stick/floor vacuum into a hand vacuum for the kids
  • mini broom with dust pan
  • water or non-toxic cleaner in a spray bottle (keep reading for my favorite DIY recipe)
  • small cleaning caddy – the one pictured is from Target – it’s a silverware caddy

 

Kid Safe Cleaning Spray Recipe via Clean Mama

Want to make a Kid-Safe Cleaning Spray that works and is safe for your kids to use?  Try this simple mixture:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 20 drops essential oils – My kids’ favorite mix is 10 drops of lemon and 10 drops of orange.

Pour into a spray bottle with funnel.  Attach spray top, shake to combine and use as you would any all-purpose cleaner.  (Not to be used on granite and marble; the acid in vinegar will etch the surface.)

DIY Cleaning Spray via Clean Mama

If you like this DIY recipe, you’ll love my book, The Organically Clean Home!

Here’s another way to encourage cleaning up – click on the image.

Simple Chore Chart and Reward System Your Kids Will Love via Clean Mama

 

Clean Mama's Simple Summer Challenge via Clean MamaThis post is part of my SIMPLE SUMMER CHALLENGE – throughout the month I’m sharing ways to keep up with routines while having lots of fun in the process.  Go here to see the introduction post, and here to see all the posts in this series.  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more on this summer challenge!

Clean Mama’s Simple Summer Challenge

Clean Mama's Simple Summer Challenge via Clean Mama

Can you believe next week is the start of June?  My kids are out of school next week (yay!) and we’ve been thinking about what we want the summer to look like.  We’ve done a little brainstorming and goal setting and have come up with a reasonable schedule for the summer.  My goal for the summer?  Get bored, relax, and really enjoy the time that we’re home together.  It’s such a short window of time between now and when they’ll be setting alarms and getting ready for the first day of school again.  How can you get bored and keep up with daily tasks and be that mom that isn’t freaking out at all the toys all over the place, again?

It’s a balance, a mindset, and an effective plan.

If you’re looking for a little structure, simple tips for keeping your house tidied up with a new routine, and that feeling of accomplishment that we all need, join my SIMPLE SUMMER CHALLENGE.  For the whole month of June I’ll be sharing tips for keeping things simple (and together) at home, simple ideas for the kids, and I’ll also be sharing a MESS every Monday (a drawer, cupboard, closet, and/or a room) on Instagram with a follow-up post later in the week showing my progress and completion.  Follow along and you can keep up with your routines, enjoy the summer, have fun with your family, and get a couple projects checked off your list while you’re at it.

What’s the challenge?  Will there be daily prompts and tasks?

I will be continuing to post my cleaning routine to Instagram, (following on IG is the best way to follow because it’s more interactive AND you’ll actually see the post), Facebook, and Twitter all summer long.  Following along is a great way to be gently reminded of the daily tasks or grab the FREE cleaning calendar each month, print it out and follow along on you own.  The Simple Summer Challenge is about choosing to keep things simple this summer.  For me, keeping up with a simple cleaning routine so the house doesn’t feel like it’s in a constant state of crazy will keep things simple.

By choosing simple and fun activities and keeping a little structure is the best way to keep the summer care-free.  Following along here on the blog and on Instagram you’ll see the simple summer challenge activities all through the month of June and you can choose to complete every single one or just a handful of them – I’ll be talking about ways to get the kids involved around the house with chores, simple ideas for meals, and ways to make things a little more fun while getting things done.  I hope you’ll join me!

Sound good?  Here’s what you need to do:

  • Make sure you’re following along on Instagram @cleanmama – I’m using the hashtag #simplesummerchallenge and you can too!
  • Sign up in the sidebar where it says ‘get updates’ to get my emails so you don’t miss a post or my NEW newsletter!  All of June I’ll be posting practical and intentional ways that you can keep your summer simple and sane at the same time.
  • Spread the word – share this post with the share buttons at the bottom of the post and I’ll see you back here on Monday, June 1st for the first post in the Simple Summer Challenge!

***Also coming next week….a SHOP UPDATE that you won’t want to miss!  (Another reason you NEED to subscribe in the sidebar) I can’t wait to share what’s new with you!***

Summer 2015 Schedule FREE Printable via Clean Mamamake

If you haven’t downloaded the FREE Summer Planning Calendar, go to this post to grab it.

Fresh Start Calendar for June 2015 via Clean Mama

And here’s June’s FREE Cleaning Routine Calendar too!

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