Now that we've covered all the basic stuff that goes along specifically with meals, here are some general kitchen tips that make my life so much easier. I can always tell when I don't follow them - life gets a wee bit more chaotic and chaos is something I just plain don't need!
* Eat breakfast in your pajamas. Or at least have the kids do that. That way you don't have to worry about spilling milk, coffee, cereal, syrup, oatmeal, jam or whatever on your work or school outfit. Even if you don't leave your house that day, it's nice not to have to change clothes again or worry about looking weird if someone stops by unexpectedly. It's usually right after I spill coffee down my shirt that the doorbell rings. I currently get dressed way before breakfast, but the kids eat in their pajamas. That means school clothes are clean at least until they get to school!
* Wear an apron. There's a million cute aprons out there and, man, are they practical! I love to bake and usually end up with flour all over me. Then I have to change clothes. The other night I was reheating chili - and sploot! it went all over my apron. No clothes causalities involved! Since I get dressed in the morning before breakfast (our schedule just works better that way), I wear an apron while I eat. It keeps me from having to change clothes one more time before I leave the house. I can use it as an emergency hand towel if needed or an emergency pot holder too.
* Wash those dishes right away. I don't have a dish washer. And I have a tiny kitchen with 9ft 1 inch of counter space, including the space taken up by the sink. If I let the dishes pile up, the kitchen gets to be a mess fast. Washing the dishes right away means I don't have to hunt for something and my kitchen stays relatively neat and tidy. It also means things scrub off so much easier than if I let them sit overnight. If you can't wash them right away, fill your sink with soapy water and soak until you can get to them.
* Add water to your pans after cooking. Unless you've really burned something on (which has never happened to me, of course!), putting water in the pan keeps it soft and easy to scrub during washing. I usually put the pan back on the hot though turned off burner to heat the water a little bit. This makes cleaning the those pans a breeze! Burned on food? Add a bit of baking soda and bring to boil. You will still need some elbow grease, but those pans do come clean a lot easier.
* Wipe it off right then. Every night when I'm done with the dishes, I wipe off the table, counter, stove top and front and wipe out the microwave. I also wipe off the refrigerator door and the door knob to the basement door. It takes a grand total of 10 minutes unless I really have to scrub something and keeps my kitchen from looking dirty and dingy. I hit any other obvious spots (on the cabinets or floor) at this time too.
* Sweep it right then. I won't tell you how often I mop my floor because it's truly pathetic (let's just say my Mom does come visit twice a year!) but I do sweep every single night. I hate stepping on bits of bread, extra rice and run-away grapes. So every night I sweep. And it does make a difference.
That's it that I can think of right now for the kitchen!
Next week, I'll talk about holiday planning and executing - a little bit late for this year, but there's always next year! Right?
Do you have any good Busy Mom Kitchen tips? I'd love to hear them!