The Master Cleaning List (Free Printable)

Master cleaning list printable

The Master Cleaning List Printable

I’m a weirdo, but I actually enjoy cleaning.  It’s a nice way to “take a break” from working or a loud toddler. She likes to clean too though, so quite often I’ll hand her a rag and her mini mop and she’ll go to town! That girl sure is thorough! Even the walls get done regularly with her around.

Anyways, I had fun creating a Master Cleaning List that I intend on putting to use in our own home, but thought you might like it too!  The top portion includes daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly cleaning suggestions. The bottom portion is a list for spring cleaning!  Once Spring hits, I’m planning a bit of a challenge that hopefully many of you will want to join with me on that uses the spring cleaning tasks! 🙂  I’ll have more details once the time draws nearer.

Download your free Master Cleaning List here.

Looking for even more help? Check out Motivated Moms!

Motivated Moms is a proven system for helping you get your home clean and organized and still leaves you time for the things that matter – family, friends, hobbies.

It’s a done-for-you checklist of chores that breaks down household tasks into smaller, more manageable bites.

Cleaning list printable

Achievable Back to School Tips and Tricks

Back to school tips and tricks

Back to School Tips and Tricks

If your summer is anything like ours, (late nights, slow mornings, unscheduled days), then the thought of school starting again is probably exciting, but might stress you out a bit. Going from no schedule to a structured day can be tough at the beginning.

Because I find the adjustment tough myself, I have come up with a Back to School Action Plan that I hope you will find useful as well! The plan covers three areas: shopping, meals and organization. By tackling these three things I know our mornings are going to run smoother and we’re going to save quite a bit of money!

Let’s get started with the back to school tips and tricks, shall we?

Back to School Shopping Tips:

Since the first year my oldest started going to school, we have implemented a tradition of going on a date together to get her school items. We both really look forward to spending some quality time together and I think the one on one dates we do is an investment into our future relationship. That being said, we don’t start our date day without a plan.

It can be so easy to walk into a store and buy whatever is on sale or super cute. But lets avoid that this year because quite frankly, it will be overwhelming to know how much money you actually spent on clothing that wasn’t actually needed and now has to be laundered. Ugh.

Back to school Tips and tricks plan

So, this is what we do here:

Inventory Clothes: This may sound overwhelming, but it literally took us less than 10 minutes. I simply pulled out every single item of clothing (including socks and underwear!) and asked her to say Yes or No to each item. If she said No, that item either got donated or put into the bin for her younger sister one day. With everything that was a Yes, I took a mental inventory of what she needed. I discovered that all she needs is a pair of indoor shoes and a sweater. That’s it! I also purchase one (on sale) outfit for her first day of school and a “special” accessory.

School Supplies: This is the first year that we have to purchase school supplies since previously everything was included in the school fees for kindergarten and grade 1. Cost is more of a concern for me so, my thoughts for this is to shop the dollar store, home and maybe even Staples when they have a good sale going.

If time is more of a concern for you, try doing all your school supply shopping online at Walmart, Staples or even Amazon. Pick it up in store when your order is ready or have it shipped to your door!

Back to School Meal Planning Tips:

Meals can be a big stress inducer for me so that why this year I have a plan for school day breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I even made some printables for you to use!

Breakfast: My kids never know what they want to eat each morning so this year I will decide for them by creating a menu. Every day of the week will be the same thing all year long. For example, Mondays I will serve muffins and fruit. Tuesdays will be pancakes or waffles. Wednesdays will be toast and fruit. And so on.

Lunch: This year, my oldest and I are going to sit down to brainstorm all the items that she would like eating in her school lunch. I’m going to divide it up into categories:

  • Main dishes
  • Veggies
  • Fruit
  • Snacks/Treats

Dinner: If I don’t have a dinner plan, dinner will either be take out or grilled cheese and tomato soup! 😛 And neither of those are healthy or good for the budget on a regular basis.

Back to School Organization

Morning Routines: Rushed, hectic mornings with short tempers are not my favourite. Admittedly, they happen way more often then I would like. Both of my kids (ages 3 and 7) still need help with their morning routines but my oldest is definitely more capable at being self directed. However, to help her along, I’ve made up a list of steps I need her to follow.

  1. Get Up
  2. Get Dressed
  3. Eat Breakfast
  4. Pack lunch (I like to do this while she is eating, but she can put it in her backpack)
  5. Brush teeth & hair
  6. Backpack & Shoes on
  7. Out the door

Set out outfits for the week: One thing I found super helpful last year was putting aside 7 outfits for each day of the week. This made getting dressed every morning so easy. My oldest tends to shut down when she has to decide so this has helped her tons.

Labels: With all the money that is spent on school items, it’s not a good feeling when something goes missing! Make it easier to find important and favourite items with labels. We love the labels from Mabel’s Labels so that where I ordered ours from.

I’d love to know your back to school tips and tricks. Leave them below in the comments!

10 Best Vegetable Gardening Books

Best vegetable gardening books

The Best Vegetable Gardening Books

Are you hoping to add some new vegetable gardening books to your library this year? If you are, I’ve rounded up a great selection of the best vegetable gardening books! These are must-haves if you are looking for inspiration for growing the best vegetable garden, no matter what size of space you are working with!

10 Must-Have Vegetable Gardening Books

guide to Canadian vegetable gardeningThis book by veteran Canadian garden writer Doug Green is full of information that will educate Canadian gardeners in all aspects of planning, installing, planting, and caring for their new garden. Gardeners will learn how to ensure their garden is eco-friendly and how to save money by storing, canning, or freezing the bounty of the garden.  With hundreds of full colour pictures, Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening is sure to be the standard for Canadian gardeners for years to come.

square foot gardeningWhen he created the “square foot gardening” method, Mel Bartholomew, a retired engineer and efficiency expert, found the solution to the frustrations of most gardeners. His revolutionary system is simple: it’s an ingenious planting method based on using square foot blocks of garden space instead of rows. Gardeners build up, not down, so there’s no digging and no tilling after the first year. And the method requires less thinning, less weeding, and less watering.

year round vegetable gardenerThe first frost used to be the end of the vegetable gardening season — but not anymore! In The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, Nova Scotia–based gardener and writer Niki Jabbour shares her secrets for growing food during every month of the year. Her season-defying techniques, developed in her own home garden where short summers and low levels of winter sunlight create the ultimate challenge, are doable, affordable, and rewarding for gardeners in any location where frost has traditionally ended the growing season.

vegetable gardener's bibleSmith’s legendary high-yield gardening method emphasizes wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, and deep soil. Succeed with fussy plants, try new and unusual varieties, and learn how to innovatively extend your growing season. With thorough profiles of hundreds of popular varieties, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible provides expert information and an inspiring roadmap for gardeners of all skill levels to enjoy abundant homegrown vegetables.

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens explains the basics of growing a bounty of edibles in a minimal amount of space. Andrea Bellamy shares all the knowledge she’s gained from years of gardening small. You’ll learn how to find and assess a space, how to plan and build a garden, and how to sow, grow, and harvest the 60 best edible plants. This hardworking and enthusiastic guide will help you take advantage of the space you have—whether it’s a balcony, a patio, a plot in a community garden, or even a small yard—to create the food garden of your dreams.

Vertical solutions deliver more yield in fewer square feet, especially perfect for the urban gardener. They’re less work, too, so you can forget all-day weeding and watering. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes and pole beans, have been grown vertically for a very long time, but those who need to maximize space can grow almost any type of plant vertically—from melons and squash to carrots, peppers, and pears. Vertical Vegetable Gardening is your thorough guide for growing all types of leafy, root, and other vegetables vertically.

grow great grubYour patio, balcony, rooftop, front stoop, boulevard, windowsill, planter box, or fire escape is a potential fresh food garden waiting to happen. In Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail, the founder of the leading online gardening community (YouGrowGirl.com), shows you how to grow your own delicious, affordable, organic edibles virtually anywhere.  Whether you’re looking to eat on a budget or simply experience the pleasure of picking tonight’s meal from right outside your door, this is the must-have book for small-space gardeners—no backyard required.

Savor your best tomato harvest ever! Craig LeHoullier provides everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes, from planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season. He also offers a comprehensive guide to various pests and tomato diseases, explaining how best to avoid them. With beautiful photographs and intriguing tomato profiles throughout, Epic Tomatoes celebrates one of the most versatile and delicious crops in your garden.

With Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces – you can create the garden of your dreams, no matter how limited your growing space is. Pat Lanza’s proven lasagna gardening method produces amazing results in pots and small plots. Even in beds just 4 inches wide, you can grow bountiful, beautiful gardens with no digging, no weeding– no kidding!

Homegrown Pantry picks up where beginning gardening books leave off, with in-depth profiles of the 55 most popular crops — including beans, beets, squash, tomatoes, and much more — to keep your pantry stocked throughout the year. Each vegetable profile highlights how many plants to grow for a year’s worth of eating, and which storage methods work best for specific varieties. Author Barbara Pleasant culls tips from decades of her own gardening experience and from growers across North America to offer planting, care, and harvesting refreshers for every region and each vegetable.

What are the best vegetable gardening books that you can recommend?

Related Vegetable Gardening Articles:

Links Worth Sharing: Week of March 27, 2021

We’ve got another birthday in the house!! Today my oldest turns 9 years old! I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. As a parent, I’m feeling so proud of her and I have moments of actually feeling excited for her teenage years. (Those feelings come and go though…LOL!)

Here are the interesting links I came across on my travels around the web this week!  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Here are some posts you may have missed from Simply Frugal:

10 Cheap Road Trip Hacks You Need to Try

10 Cheap Road Trip Hacks You Need to Try

Will you be heading on the road with your family this summer? Road trips can be a great way to spend time with your loved ones or to get a brief respite from this crazy world. Whatever your reason for the trip, planning is key.

One of the most challenging things for a family road trip is just getting to your destination. Anyone who has taken a trip with kids knows there are constant stops for snacks, bathroom breaks and meltdowns over a toy or blanket that may have fallen beyond their reach. If you prepare for the situations you can control, your trip to your destination will go smoothly (and hopefully with as few stops as possible).

Before you hit the road, be sure to take a look at these 10 cheap road trip hacks. The dollar store or even Amazon are great places to look for inexpensive items that can be used to make your trip run as smooth as possible. Here are some hacks made using simple items that will ensure your next road trip adventure is a success.

Shower Caddies

These mesh plastic caddies are great for snacking in the vehicle. Use the compartments to put a juice box or water bottle, bags of snacks, napkins and utensils. Each person in the car should have their own. No more making stops to get everyone their snacks. They can help themselves as you drive.

Mesh Pop Up Hamper

These small hampers fold up into a disc so they don’t take up much room in the car. Pop one up to be a catch all for larger toys or put a plastic bag in a small one and place in the back seat with the kids so they can throw their trash in it (and not on the floor).

Elastic Sheet Straps

Elastic sheet straps have little tabs that affix to fabric on each end. Tired of your kid losing their blanket and you have to pull the car over to find it? Do you want them to have a sweatshirt or jacket readily available? Attach one end to their clothes or fabric of their car seat and attach the other end to the blanket or jacket.Cheap road trip hacks that you rally need to try to ensure a successful trip with kids!

Plastic Mattress Protector

Plastic mattress protectors are a must have in your road trip arsenal. You can use them as a picnic table cover in a pinch if you stop to eat at a rest area or park. You can also use them to catch sand and dirt in the trunk or cargo area on gear, clothes or shoes. If your lodging on the way to your trip isn’t up to your usual standards, you can use these mattress protectors to keep you and the sheets separated.

Mesh Bags

Mesh bags are great for road trips. Most dollar stores sell them in a pack of two or three and they have so many uses. You can tie one to the back of a headrest and put your child’s blanket and stuffed animals for easy reach. You can also use mesh bags to air dry wet items or collect dirty laundry.  

Accordion Files

Sometimes your car can become a dumping ground on a road trip and before you know it you find yourself looking for everything from sunscreen to bug spray. Accordion files can keep everything in one place. Place the item in a gallon size plastic bag and label the top. This also works for games, coloring sheets, puzzles and other activities for the kids. Empty the pieces into a gallon zipped bag (you can get them cheap at the dollar store), label and place in each compartment.

Stacking Pill Organizer

When you take a road trip, space can be limited. One way you can save space is by using the stackable pill bottles. Put your eye cream, toothpaste and lotions in them to avoid having to bring larger containers. You can put over the counter medications in them. Or if you like to bring your favorite spices along, you can put them in there too. The possibilities are endless.

Fishing Lure Box/ Small Hardware Storage Box

These small boxes can be used to keep things together in the car during travel, whether it is small parts for crafts, spare change or earbuds to your devices.

Shower Trays with Suction Cups

Are you tired of picking up Legos or small toys and want to keep them together and in arm’s reach of your kids? Suction holders can be the perfect solution. Just suction the trays to your kids’ window and they have a place to store their favorite things.

Shower Caps

Shower caps are also a great staple to have on hand. If you make stops and your kids get their shoes dirty, you can place them in the shower caps. Or if you don’t want to take their shoes off, place the caps around their shoes. If you stop to have a picnic, you can also use these to snap around a plate to keep the bugs away from your food.

Clip-on LED Light

For night driving, you may get distracted by turning the overhead lamps on for the kids to read. The clip-on LED reading light can come in handy. Clip onto seat belts so kids can have a reading light at their disposal. Clip onto your kids if you have to get out of your car at night to stretch your legs or go into a dark rest stop. These are portable and give just enough light for them to read, but not enough that it will distract you from driving.

Do you have any road trip hacks to share? Leave them in the comments below!

Links Worth Sharing: Week of March 20, 2021

Happy Spring! We are super excited for Spring in our household. We’ve even been experiencing some warm spring-like weather! How’s the weather in your part of the world?

One thing I’ve been thankful for this week, is emergency savings. Our hot water tank decided it had enough and sprung a leak. So I spent all morning yesterday, calling local plumbers to get quotes and to see how quickly they could help us. Turns out word of mouth works the best! My husband found a soccer teammate that owns a plumbing business that could fit us in! He says it was a good thing he came right away, because our tank actually had a hole in the bottom, so it might not have made it through the weekend without a big flood! So thankful.

Here are the interesting links I came across on my travels around the web this week!  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Here are some posts you may have missed from Simply Frugal: