Cool Kitchen / Hot Meals in the Summer

Summer months mean hot days and a hot kitchen if you use your oven. I try to avoid using my oven during the summer months to help keep my utility costs down.

There are many ways to cook without using your oven. A grill, roaster, toaster oven, bread machine, and crock pot can all be used to create meals without heating up the kitchen. But, I have found that when it is really hot even the crock pot creates too much heat in my kitchen. Last summer I found an easy solution to this problem. I put the ingredients in my crock pot and then set it on the porch to cook all day. My kitchen stays cool and so do I.

How do you keep your kitchen cool in the summer heat?

Remember to use common sense when putting the crock pot outside. Don’t leave it anywhere that a child could touch it and get burned.

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I have answered some of your crock pot questions here.

This post is linking to Works for me Wednesday.


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Project Room Swap

Over at The Inspired Room there was a challenge issued to tackle a project you had been putting off. For the past 10 months I have not liked the furniture set up in our home. Our dining room is in the front of the house away from the kitchen. Since we don’t have an eat in kitchen this means the kids carry food throughout the house to get from the kitchen to the table. We solved this by putting a kids table in the kitchen but then dh and I would end up eating standing up.

I did not want to rearrange because it meant moving all of our big heavy furniture. A few weeks ago I asked the family what they thought about switching the school room and the dining room. No one wanted to do it. After everyone gave me their “no’s”  dh explained the following to the kids.

“Kids,” he said. “When mom asks you what you think of a big project she really isn’t asking for your opinion. She is just trying to gauge the amount of resistance she will face when she starts the project.”

He knows me too well.

After a series of incidents that are too long and complex to address in this post, dh climbed on board with my project rearrange. Once I got the green light I got to work last Friday morning with the help of the kids.

I decided to video the project, since it was before my nice new camera arrived. :)
Before. Notice the cereal boxes on the counter…. I am so ashamed!

After:

I love our new set up and can’t believe it took me ten months to tackle this project!

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This post is linking to Tackle it Tuesday.


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Clothing Organization and Room Pick Up or Why I Want to Move to Hawaii

Spring has finally arrived in Maryland and I was chomping at the bit to get the winter clothes packed up and the summer clothes unpacked. After a few 90 degree days in which my boys were playing outside in flannel lined pants we needed to bring out the shorts!

The problem with clothing organization is simple. We have a big family, and each person has a summer and winter wardrobe. Our house does not have an attic or a basement so finding storage space for these clothes is difficult. The bins (all 20 of them) are scattered around the house in various closets and storage places.

The other big problem with swapping out the clothes is that it means I must enter my boys’ room. Honestly, I try to avoid the room as much as possible. I am sure this is a shock those of you, who are still living with thoughts that my entire life is organized down to the underwear drawers. It is not. The boys’ room has been a struggle for years. There are three boys living in a small room with enough legos to open a theme park. Throw in some dirty socks, smelly shoes, and a bucket full of stuffed animals and you have a perpetual disaster. I have tried everything, bribing, punishments, bagging up toys and taking them to goodwill, nothing seems to work. So for the past year or so I just close the door, walk away, and pray they will have loving and understanding wives.

When I entered the room last week to start swapping clothes this is what I found.

The clothing swap/ room clean out took the entire day and I am not exaggerating! It is really hard to have three boys in the same room and let them have any toys at all. The room is small (probably 10 x 11) and there isn’t much space for anything other than a bed and one dresser.

After the clean-up.

I had to come up with a system for their clothes as we were having too many occasions where one child would come down dressed for church in jeans with holes in the knees and a stained t-shirt. So, clothes that are hanging are for church and other outings. Clothes in the wire cubbies (pants) and dresser (t-shirts) are play clothes.

I am happy to say it has been an entire week since we cleaned and organized the boys room and it is still clean. As with most other things in life I have found that when I am diligent and stay on top of things, the boys are diligent as well. When I slack, they slack. It begins and ends with me.

Now, as for why I want to move to Hawaii (aside from beautiful beaches and endless pineapple)…

Our winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves… it took four large rubbermaid bins to pack all of it away. I would love to live a sock free sandals only life and leave our heavy coats in storage for a few years!


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