What to do After Trauma?

The recent hurricanes that took place reeking havoc on Texas and Florida had me a hormonal mess. I’m located in Texas and have family and friends located all across Houston. Some of my friends lost everything, some got away with minimal loss, and others are just fine. I so badly  wanted to run down there and help after it was all said and done, but being pregnant it was not and is not safe for me to do so. Ultimately however the entire event has got me thinking and meditating on how I can help to fix my self and my own personal problems. My family has been through a lot in just a few short years: we had a baby; my husband lost his mother; I suffered severe postpartum depression; we had a roommate issue (actually we had a few of these) that nearly broke us mentally and financially; honestly the list goes on and on. While I have done well in terms of fixing and managing my husband and I’s relationship there are still ongoing issues that I will never be able to fix if I do not first fix myself.

What is trauma?

Trauma comes in many forms a complicated birth, a natural disaster, emotional abuse, a terrible car accident, or the loss of a loved one. No matter what type of trauma experienced a road to recovery is needed. Trauma always constitutes a type of loss, whether its the loss of time, emotional security, physical capabilities, or a person, that loss hurts. When you have a family and you are experiencing this hurt whether its something directly effecting one person or every person its important to not only know how to properly care for yourself, but others as well.

For the person currently suffering because of trauma?blancoynegro-1217184_640

Maybe you are one of the many people who’s lives have been devastated by Harvey and Irma, or a mom suffering from postpartum depression and healing after a very traumatic birth experience. Perhaps your someone who just lost their best friend. Life does not always give us a silver spoon, a ray of sunshine, or a silver lining. However, that does not mean we give up. If you are currently suffering and have tried everything you can on your own to make yourself happy then perhaps it is time to seek out extra help.

Helplines:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline (United States)Copy of What to do after

1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233

LGBTQ Crisis Hotline and Services

https://www.ostem.org/crisis-hotlines

Financial Assistance, Medical Affordability, Local Help Resources

Call 2-11 in the U.S if you have any questions for financial assistance regarding food, paying bills, childcare, social services, and/or medical expenses.

If you are not sure where to begin in terms of trying to make yourself better and are too scared to reach out for help try some of these tips below.

Step 1:

  • Make sure you are taking time for yourself.
  • If you need to cry, then cry.
  • If you need to sleep, sleep.
  • If you just need some time to be alone, do it.

Step 2:

  • Get outside, you need 20 minutes of sunshine minimum everyday.
  • If you can see a Doctor and discuss with them about having your vitamin levels checked.
  • Take a multi-vitamin, it will help if you are lacking anything in your diet. Discuss with your Doctor on what the best multi-vitamin might be for you.

Step 3:

  • Drink water
  • Do your best to maintain a well balanced diet.

Step 4:

  • Try to workout at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes, even if its just walking around your office building or apartment complex.

Step 5:

  • Set a goal or goals, write down all the steps need to achieve that goal.

Step 6:

  • Start working towards your goal.

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If you Know someone who has recently experienced trauma?:

Perhaps you are not currently suffering as a result of trauma, but know someone who is. Maybe your spouse lost a parent or your best friend is getting out of an abusive relationship. Whether they are blatantly asking for your help or you are simply reading their story via Facebook updates, there are ways you can help even if you are not there next to them or capable of visiting in person.

Step 1:

Listen to what they tell you. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

  • What do they need?
  • What hurts?
  • Why does it hurt?
  • How does it hurt?
  • Where does it hurt?
  • When did it start?
  • Who caused it?
  • How was it caused?
  • What was the cause?

Step 2:

Be a shining light or a positive place for them. Build them up.

Step 3:

Help them problem solve.

Step 4:

Ask them about their goals, keep them on track to reaching them.

When someone is healing as a result of trauma they may try and gloss over the problem by saying everything is okay. They may hide behind good things or excuses. Don’t be afraid to show your failing points or troubles and how you fixed them or are working to fix them. If you feel someone is hiding their true emotions ask them about their goals, share with them about yours. Check in with them often to see how they are doing with their goals and give them an update on your own.

You and someone close are dealing with trauma simultaneously?:sad-child-1759986_640

Whether your family lost everything to the hurricanes or just experienced a traumatic car accident there are times in all of our lives when we are forced to not only care for our own mental well being, but the well being of others as well. Some are good at this. Others just freeze. It is okay to show emotion. It is okay to cry, it is okay to be mad. However, its important to also know where the balance is.

Step 1:

Have open discussions about every ones feelings.

  • What is everyone feeling?
  • What does everyone fear?
  • How can those feelings be properly expressed?
  • What can we do to fix those fears or bad feelings?

Step 2:

Give everyone their individual time to heal and move forward.

  • Maybe counseling with a third party is needed.
  • Maybe mom needs 20 minutes everyday to  just take a breath and relax without anyone touching her or asking for something.
  • Maybe the children need time with their friends.
  • Perhaps dad needs mom to listen to and hold him for a little while while he cries a few times a week.

Step 3:

  • What are the goals for the family?
  • How can you prevent future trauma?
  • What is everyone’s individual plan/goal for the future?

When you work through trauma individually it can be overwhelming, however we all must do things to care for ourselves otherwise we will not be able to care for others. When we are caring for others we must first listen to them in order to provide them with what they really need. If our entire household is experiencing trauma we need to not only listen to ourselves and voice our needs, but also listen to the needs being voiced by our spouse and our children. If we are not capable of doing exactly what someone needs, we must then find a compromise or something that is mutually beneficial to both parties.

The beautiful thing about Houston and really most of South East Texas is that despite the political, religious, and racial differences expressed, debated, and argued they will always help their neighbor in need. The entire country watched as the people came together to rescue and evacuate thousands who were stuck. The part you won’t see is how they will also come together to clean it up and rebuild. Social class, religion, race, politics, and gender will have no place to stand as neighbors will come together to exchange labor, goods, shoulders, and ears to help one another move forward. The hurricane was a trauma shared, for some it was more devastating than others, but that doesn’t mean those who are doing better move forward unscathed, instead they take their time to heal and they heal themselves, by helping to heal each other.

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Hobbies:Bullet Journaling

I’ve always kept a planner to help me keep track of things. I’ve also frequently had multiple types of notebooks to help me keep track of my different writing ideas as well as my to-do’s. With my responsibilities increasing I needed a way to keep track of all of my responsibilities in one place. So far Bullet journaling has really helped me get  a hold over our finances. This month I just focused on getting the finances together, next month I plan to include appointments, meal planning, chores, and habits into my journal.

Here is how I plan to organize August in my Bullet journal. organizer-791939_1920

Monthly Calendar

Monthly Income Tracker

Monthly Bills Breakdown

August Debt Crush (Each month I have certain debts I want to get rid of)

Weekly Budget Breakdown

Chore Chart Monthly

Chore Chart Weekly

Chore Chart Daily

To Do List: Immediate, Later, Eventually

Weekly Meal Plan

The Last Time I (tracker) Changed the sheets, bought xyz, Cleaned xyz, etc.

Dr’s Appointments Myself, Daniel, Wesley

Future Purchases

Water Consumption

Blog Post Tracker (frequency of Posts)

Creating this bullet journal has really helped me in laying out my thoughts over the past week. I too often have a million things running through my head, and often feel that there is not enough time in the day. As I get more into bullet journaling you can expect a few how to hobby posts about it. It seems to be a popular idea at the moment, but it is an organizational tool that I am finding to be extraordinarily helpful. It is a one stop shop for all of my needs. Unlike in the past where I would write about my day in my diary, keep track of my future to-do’s in my planner, and make a list of my daily to-do’s inside of the nearest notebook I could find, now I am able to keep track of all my ideas in one spot. There is no right or wrong.

I had been wondering just what I was going to do with the beautiful leather bound journal my husband had gifted me a couple months ago, and now I have the answer. Its been incredibly freeing to just get all the ideas down in one place without constantly having to look for the right notebook to write it down in. Amazingly this organizational tool also has its own community, there are so many people online talking, sharing, and experimenting online with this concept. The inspiration for others on exactly how to do a bullet journal is ultimately refreshing.

So tell me have you experimented with bullet journaling? How do you like it so far? Please share in the comments below.

Getting Back on Track

Finding out I was pregnant with baby number two hit me much harder than I would have expected. Even though we were trying for this one I still found myself completely unprepared for what that meant exactly. These past few months had me physically ill from morning sickness and financially unhinged. Fortunately thanks to my sisters gift of a vehicle I was able to jump on board with Lyft. With my husbands hours I needed something flexible that I could do while making money consistently, unfortunately the blogging thing just wasn’t cutting it. However, I don’t want to give up on my blog not when I’ve already invested so much time, energy, and money into it.

I’ve also decided to get my teaching certification, and hope to be employed as a teacher by Fall 2018. Being a teacher will of course mean placing my children in daycare something I’ve thus far avoided (mostly because it was/is not affordable), however with both my husband and I working and with me getting paid a teacher salary we could definitely afford daycare even with both kiddos attending.  In the meantime I am finally getting a handle over our finances and have an actual action plan aimed at bringing down our debt. Since starting Lyft on June 24, 2017 I’ve made over $1000. I also got my husband in on the action and he’s brought in over $300 since he started July 4th.

My husband choose to leave sushi at the end of May and has since been working at a cafe. He gets paid weekly, which means we have to really budget if we want to pay everything on time. My responsibilities as a result both to my working and with my husbands new pay schedule have increased. Its been difficult trying to organize everything. To combat my organization problem I explored Pinterest where I discovered Bullet Journaling (BUJO). Tomorrow’s post I will share my enterance into the Bullet Journaling adventure.

How I’m handling my New Years Resolutions:

Personal:

Health:

Pregnancy definitely makes you more aware of your health I’ve managed to maintain a healthy diet and have gotten pretty good at meal planning. Since getting the car I’m walking less, but I’m still making an effort to walk regularly, I’ve also been taking my son to the Pool and Park multiple times a week. Thanks to Lyft I’ve mostly gotten setup with a regular wake-up and bedtime routine.

Financially:

My husband switched jobs a few times this year as a result our finances have been sort of off balance. Thanks to my working with Lyft, however I’ve managed to get a handle over many things and I expect in the next few months to see a great improvement in our situation. Since I am due with a new little in December I’m planning not only to cut down on our debt, but also to pay extra on our bills for the next few months. I’ve got a budget set up and thanks to my bullet journal I’m able to keep track of my progress so much better.

Hobbies:

I haven’t done a whole lot in the hobbies department, but my reading list has really been devoured. I started reading Strengths Quest, and I finally finished Stephen Kings On Writing, Debt Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About, as well as What to Expect the Second Year. My plants are going to need to be re-potted again even though I just re-potted them this Spring. Bullet Journaling feels like it is quickly becoming a new hobby and I am really enjoying it. My husband bought me a new journal a couple months ago and I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it, until I found bullet journaling on Pinterest.

My writing goals:

My blog:

I didn’t reach my goal of 5 posts a week every week. Especially when you consider I haven’t posted anything in the past three months. However, I did purchase my blog rights this year, and despite being gone for three months I managed to rake in a whole thirty cents in advertisement funds. I’m hoping as I get back on track and begin posting more regularly the funds will increase. I don’t want to give an exact number for how often I will be posting, though I really hope I can post at least twice a week. I’ve got a ton of posting ideas still, and I want to continue this even if I can’t make it a full-time income the way I had hoped it would, maybe I can make it a side thing.

My Clients:

Right now I have zero clients, I can always get set back up with Kinnectpay and I was recently brought on as an ambassador with Lyft. In addition, I have affiliate rights to an amazing product that I look forward to sharing with you down the road. With as busy as I am with Lyft I don’t see how I can get set back up with Fiverr. I do want to get stuff set up on Constant Content, but again I am looking for when I will find the time.

Creative Writing:

I have been collecting lots of ideas in the last few months, unfortunately time has been whats gotten away with me. I finally have a wake-up/sleep schedule and it is really helping me to get everything done. I’m hoping that my new bullet journaling habit will help me find more time in my day not only to blog, but also to write creative stories.

 

Baby #2: My Birth Announcement

It was our goal to have another baby this year, and come December 11, 2017, plus or minus a few days, we will have a little girl/boy in our lives. I’m so excited to be pregnant again. As much of a surprise the first pregnancy was, this one has its own challenges, but is so much easier.

First, I have more experience this time around. I’m not basing all my knowledge on what I was told growing up, instead I have personal experience to go off of.

Second, we are more financially stable this go round, and we have our ducks in a row. My sister was amazing enough to gift us her second vehicle as she had just bought herself a new one and no longer needed her old vehicle.

Third, I will be hiring a doula. What is a doula? A doula is a labor advocate, she helps make sure everything goes your way in the room during delivery. She also provides advice, breathing techniques, and helps relieve pressure during the laboring process. I choose to hire a doula this time for two reasons. A) I tore horribly during my first delivery and I do not want to repeat that again. B) On the good chance that my labor progresses faster than someone can pick up our son who will be a little less than 2 in a half, I need someone I trust to be there for me, while my husband is entertaining our toddler in the waiting room.

How this pregnancy is different from my first?

My nausea lasted a lot longer than with my son. In addition, heart burn has been horrible. I am a lot more active this pregnancy than I was with my first. I am determined to maintain my leg muscles this pregnancy so I can be in a vertical position during delivery. Having a toddler certainly helps with this. My last pregnancy I craved mostly tacos, whereas this pregnancy I am craving fruits and veggies. I’m pretty sure this little one will be a girl, but I won’t find out until next week, so stay tuned for the gender reveal.

 

 

2 Year- Toddler Post

I started this blog when I was pregnant with my son, he inspired me to follow my dream of writing. I have had many ups and downs not only with my emotions, but also with my writing. The past few months I have been very distracted with a combination of family drama, financial crisis, and a roller coaster of depression. We have had a lot of changes take place over the course of a short period. Tomorrow I will be making a big announcement. It amazes me how quickly time has moved forward, my little boy is two today it feels just like yesterday I was holding him in the hospital.

 

masks-833421_1280My Mental Health:

The last few months have been difficult for many reasons. I’ve basically been on a roller coaster, but everything seems to have evened out in the past couple of weeks. My son is into everything. He climbs on things and no toy stays in the toy bin for long. The constant need for cleaning and housekeeping has definitely caused a good deal of stress. The messy house combined with the slight financial mess we found ourselves in has definitely not helped with my roller coaster of depression. Fortunately everything seems to be improving. I’m working on creating new schedules and plans via the bullet journal method. (More on bullet journaling next week.)

 

toy-box-1916163_640How Toddler is Doing?:

He has all of his teeth and is getting taller. His vocabulary is incredibly large with new words being added everyday. His 1 year old cousin came to stay for a couple of weeks and the two had a great time playing with one another. Wesley doesn’t quite understand sharing, but he definitely learned what “mine” means while his cousin was visiting. With summer here I have started taking him to the local kiddy pool. He is tall enough that he can walk across the whole thing. It goes from 9 inches to 2 feet. I sit/stand next to him the whole time while he walks around and plays with his and others water toys. He hates getting his face and hair wet, but since taking him to the pool regularly he enjoys baths much more.

20170409_165549Feeding Toddler?

So we stopped the food pouches, they were no longer filling him up and they were getting very expensive. He basically eats almost exclusively what we eat. I do buy him snacks that are more specifically for him including goldfish, animal crackers, peanut butter crackers, and fruit snacks. The kid also loves tomatoes, so even though I am not a fan I buy him tomatoes every now and again. Recently he has been over-indulging himself on fruit-snacks. I’m working on getting him to understand they are a sometimes treat. He knows how to get into the pantry and fridge by himself. We have successfully set it up so he can’t get into the kitchen, but keeping him out of the pantry has proven impossible.

circle-304524_1280Tips and Tricks:

Pool shoes are a must have for splash pads

Summer is host to a whole slew of free fun family activities don’t forget to check your local city center and library for free events. Tired of visiting the same park or pool over and over again, change it up by driving further away from home to visit a neighboring public pool or park, just make sure you check their open days and times, some pools are closed during certain week days for cleaning.

 

21 Month Baby Post

It’s been a fun road I must say. My little man will be two in a few months. He’s so big, plus he is smart and has personality plus. I am so happy to get the opportunity to spend so much time with him on a daily basis.

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My Mental Health:

Well the little man is almost two and the tantrums have already begun with him. It is definitely difficult. I’m having to provide boundaries for him, which is difficult for me, because I want him to be happy. I want him to eat whenever he wants, I want him to have the opportunity to explore his environment. However, at the same time he has to learn that he can’t touch the T.V, he cannot eat 5 plus apple sauce pouches in a day or an hour. It’s very difficult keeping up with his energy level as well. I constantly have to decide between work, play, and chores. Then there’s just day where all I want to do is sit on the couch and not move. We have been sick a lot this year. In January I had mono, in February DH and I both got the flu, and in March my son Wesley got a stomach bug (I’m assuming it was mild food poisoning from eating out of the trash.) That little kid is quick, we have since made sure he cannot get his paws inside the trash can. This month, Wesley and I have both had a terrible cold. Basically I’ve been feeling miserable, which is why this weeks posts were non-existent until today. Mentally these last few months have just been exhausting. Fortunately, while I’ve been pretty exhausted the past three months, I have also been mostly relaxed without too many financial concerns. I’m so happy to be clear of the post pardum.

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Wesley got his first haircut recently. We were grocery shopping when he swiped the bell pepper from the display and bit into it. He thought it was an apple. The kid ate the whole thing including the seeds.

How Toddler is doing?:

His back teeth came in, he almost has a full set of teeth now. He’s walking and climbing on everything. However, I’m happy to say I can still make good use of the play pen and crib. He doesn’t climb out of those. Daniel (my husband) thinks its because he is lazy and doesn’t have a real reason to, because he won’t play with his toys alone. We got him new clothes he’s sort of in between 18 month and 24 month sizes. I bought him a bunch of 24 month clothes just to make it easy. He is starting to show interest in the potty and we are thinking about starting potty training here soon. I’m considering trying out the three day potting training method. I’m planning to start on a Sunday so my husband is here, I will take care of it all day Monday and then he can help me finish it off on Tuesday. Starting next week he will have Sunday and Tuesday off.

My only concern with potty training is that Wesley does still sleep in his crib at night, plus he does not yet know any bathroom words. However, he has shown the ability to pick up on words quickly when they are introduced and used consistently over a short period of time. I figure maybe he will pick up the bathroom words when we are teaching him. We have a little seat to place on our toilet for him, but we should probably get a step stool so I don’t have to lift him up their each time. I’ve sat him on the potty a couple of times with the kids toilet seat, he seemed a little scared, I’m hoping with the stool he would be more comfortable, because he would understand he can get down.

 

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Feeding Toddler:

He weaned himself from the boob, but recently he keeps lifting my shirt or pulling it down to look at my boobs. I’m not sure why he has the sudden fascination. I have started monitoring his snacks a little bit, he doesn’t realize when he is full. So I’ve set it up so that he gets one veggie bowl, one fruit bowl, no more than 2 apple sauce pouches, a cheese stick, and crackers or bread. Total he gets about 6 snacks a day now. Plus he also gets Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yeah my kid can eat. He’s currently around 25 lbs. and just under three feet tall. He’s a big boy, he still has some of his leg rolls, but most of the arm rolls are gone, and the belly is slowly disappearing too. His back muscles are amazing though, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into a little athlete. I just hope he chooses something like swimming.

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Tips and Tricks:

Use small take and toss kid bowls to break up healthy snacks for your toddler. You can also use ziplock bags. Put a few different fruits in one, a few veggies in another, and if you want you can do nuts, crackers (goldfish), and raisins in the third. Provide the snacks through the day when they are hungry.

Keep a basket in your fridge specifically for kid snacks, so you or they can just open the fridge grab, open, and hand to them. Saves time, and prevents meltdowns.

 

Spring Cleaning: Before a Move

Spring Cleaning is an essential part of your yearly routine, it allows you to refresh your home, get rid of the old to make room for all the new that came in over the winter holidays. It’s also a great way to make some extra cash, and begin the packing process if you are getting ready for a move. Even if you won’t be moving for another 3 to 6 months it is great to utilize spring cleaning as a time to begin packing away and minimizing your belongings.

We will be moving at the end of September so as a part of my Spring Cleaning, I have begun packing away my books and nick-nacks as they are not anything I will need as part of my essential daily tasks for the next few months. I suggest setting up at least 4 containers as you go through each room, while you clean.

As you begin Spring Cleaning and prepare for a move take the following steps.

Step 1: Make a list of rooms in your house/apartment. For example my list would look like this.

Living roomhome-1745377_640

Dining room

Kitchen

Pantry

Bathroom #1

Bathroom #1’s linen closet

Coat closet

Baby’s room

Baby’s closet

Master bedroom

Master bedroom nook

Master bedroom closet

Bathroom #2

Bathroom #2 linen closet

Step 2: Pick a room either begin in the back of the house or front of the house, if you have multiple floors pick a floor.

Go through each room, break it down into walls, flat surfaces, and floors. For example the bathroom might be broken down as. Mirrors, counters, bathtubs, toilet, sink, floors.

Step 3: While you are organizing and wiping down surfaces, decide what you are going to donate, sell, trash, or pack away. If you have a while before your move only pack away non-essentials. For example if you are like me and own over 800+ books and have no intention of minimizing that number, it would be a good idea to begin packing away those books you are not currently reading and that you don’t refer to often. Put all trash in a trash bag. storage-38093_640

Depending on how you are going to sell your items, i.e garage sale, craigslist, facebook group, or ebay consider each item carefully. If you are planning for a garage sale, put your donation stuff in there too, you never know what people might take an interest in. Whatever doesn’t sell at your garage sale you can then donate after.

Step #4: For things that you are planning to keep out, be sure to place them in their proper place. For example clothes and towels, should have a set place in the linen closet.

Step #5: Make sure you dust off any items you are packing away in boxes, otherwise you are just creating more work for yourself come moving day.

Step #6: Take your time. Utilize the Single Tasking method. to-do-734587_640

For more articles related to spring cleaning see below:

Kitchen Organization

Deep Cleaning Your Kitchen

Clean Out Your Computer Day

Surviving Life with a Baby Part 5: Chore Chart

Spring Cleaning: Tips and Tricks to a fresh Start of the Year

Do you have any suggestions for Spring Cleaning as you move? Let me know in the comments below.

Kitchen Organization

It seems everyone has their own way of organizing the kitchen, the pantry, and don’t get me started on the variety of ways in which we as people load the dishwasher. When my husband Daniel first moved in with me I was already well established in my first apartment where I had managed to organize the tiny kitchen so that it worked well for me and my style of cooking.

Daniel however, was used to a professional kitchen with everything within hands reach to do exactly what needed to be done. As it was, the way my kitchen was set up was illogical in his eyes. Over the first year of us living together, we made some minor changes to its organization, but it was never quiet perfect for Daniel and he would constantly explain how certain items would have been better placed in such and such location.

When setting up our new apartment, I took special care in organizing the layout of our kitchen based on the constant complaints and exclamations Daniel had made at the last apartment. The following is how I did it.

Pots/Pans:kitchen-487973_640

Place all pots and pans in the drawer attached to the stove, if you do not have one of these you have two more options.

  • Place pots and pans on a rack that hangs over head.
  • In a Cupboard that is next to or closest to the stove, particularly one that sits on the ground, as they tend to be larger than the overhead cupboards.

Also, place all metal baking sheets, steamers, rotisseries, and serving platters in a cupboard closest to the stove.

Cups:

Drink-ware should all be in a top cupboard nearest the fridge.

Note: do not put in cupboard above the fridge as this is very hard to reach. This cupboard should be used for rarely used items and or alcohol/ other products you would like to keep out of the reach of children.

Plates/Bowls:

Keep plates and bowls together in a cupboard that’s easy to view while standing in front of. Keep large mixing bowls here as well if you can. Keeping your mixing bowls here makes it easier to locate when you are thinking to yourself I need a bowl.

Tableware:

Keep all tableware in a drawer either nearest the edge of the kitchen for easy grabbing on the way out/ when you forget to grab one or place in a drawer beneath the location of your plates/bowls.

Hand Tools:

Spatulas, tongs, whisks, basting brush and bulb etc. etc. The items you use frequently should be in a cylindrical container on the counter near the stove, all others that do not get used often or that do not sit properly in the cylinder should be placed in their own drawer nearest the stove.

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Seasonings/ Cooking Oils:

Place in a cupboard/ on a shelf that is close to eye level near the stove (we had extra cupboard space in our apartment so one cupboard holds spices at eye level and another holds the cooking oils, extra rice, and cooking wine in a bottom cupboard since the shelves were taller.)

Tub-a-ware:

Do your best to keep Tub-a-ware mess exclusively on one shelf of your cabinets though ideally somewhere that is easy to see and grab from. We have two shelves of tub-a-ware one of which is a mess and contains the plastic cheap to-go containers. On the second shelf it is much better organized, this is where we keep our nicer glassware tub-a-ware.

Baking Dishes:

Put these in an easily accessible location especially if you use your oven a lot, you want to be able to easily locate the proper dish.

Kitchen Gadgets:

There are many different types of gadgets from toasters and can openers to mixers and electric grills; anyone who’s lived on their own long enough has collected at least a few of these gadgets. For the gadgets, you use every day its best to find an out of the way location on your counter-top, preferably near a wall outlet. We keep four such gadgets on our counters including the electric can opener, toaster, coffee maker, and the base of our blender.

As for our Microwave, we thought it better to save counter space for food prep by placing it on a small wooden table, which also acts as a holder for our recipe books. We have an eat-in kitchen so the table sits easily in the corner of our dining area.

Other suggestions for where to put the Microwave include:

  • In the pantry
  • Above the fridge
  • On your counter top if you have the space

So what about all those gadgets you don’t use on a daily basis?

Well in my case, they are placed out of the way in a bottom cupboard, as you don’t use them very often there is less concern to be had about visualization of these items, and placing them one behind another is not a big deal. Just be aware of the order in which you place them. If you use your crock pot more often than your electric griddle, don’t place the griddle in front of the crock pot.

Pitchers/Vases:pitcher-1259521_640

I keep all my unused vases under the sink and as for my unused pitchers; I keep them above the fridge. The cupboard above my fridge is a little taller than some so I like to place tall/awkward items that don’t get used very often in this location as it is out of the way.

Note: My Oven mitts hang off a plastic door hook usually reserved for hanging jackets on the backs of doors. I took an extra one that I had and hooked it over one of the cupboards near the stove. It is the perfect place for quick retrieval of oven mitts when I need them and it holds five perfectly.

Junk Drawer:

There is a junk drawer in just about every house, and more often than not, it is located in the kitchen. Though you don’t necessarily have to fill every drawer I understand the need to do so. In order to prevent the creation of a junk drawer in my kitchen I put assorted lids and straws in one drawer. I then put extra rags for cleaning and using in the process of a quick microwave steam in another drawer. My other drawers holds large utensils like tongs that don’t get used very often. The fourth and final drawer holds the silverware.

Please share some of your kitchen organization tips in the comments:

Deep Cleaning Your Kitchen

There are four main steps to keeping your kitchen clean.

1) doing the dishes

2) wiping down the counters

3) taking out the trash

4) sweeping/mopping the floors.

However, there are a number of other areas that you should really think about giving a scrub down to:

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behind the sink

electric can opener

cabinet doors

stove fan

microwave

pantry

cabinet drawers

top of fridge

oven

pot and pan drawer under stove

silver ware organizer

All of the areas I just listed are places that most people forget about or ignore. Many people like to do their yearly cleaning in the spring, me I like to get it done at least once a season in order to make sure my home is as clean and de-cluttered as I can make it.

Many people are busy and I understand this, but if you could just take a few hours one day every three months to do the following steps you would find your kitchen to be cleaner and a more inviting place to eat.

I hope that many of you already clean up messes as they occur, but I also know that some messes go unnoticed or kids and other family members may not be so great at cleaning up after themselves instead leaving disarrays behind them like some sort of spinning tornado everywhere they go. It is for these build ups of uncleanliness that this article is for. Now let us deep clean that kitchen.

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Step 1: Easy enough wash the dishes, any dish that is dirty in the house, score every child’s room, bathroom, living room, and play area to make sure that not a single dish is missed. Also, don’t forget to empty the fridge of all those un-eaten leftovers that have long since gone bad sitting in the back of the fridge.

After washing dishes thoroughly in the sink, place them in the dishwasher for proper sanitization. After all, you don’t know how long that cup was growing mold, or how long that pork chop was sitting in that glass bowl.

Step 2: At this point you likely want to take the trash out, as cleaning up the rest of the kitchen won’t be easy with it smelling like the entire last month’s decaying leftovers. While you are at it wipe down the inside of your trash can with soap and water to help prevent bacteria growth from smelling up your home.

dishes-1348213_640Step 3: After all of the dishes have been washed and put away wipe down the counter using your preferred cleaner, I really like method all purpose  grapefruit scented cleaner and their mint glass surface cleaner. Wipe down the counter tops and don’t forget to scrub behind the sink nozzle you will be surprised by the number of food particles and even mold that can form in that area simply because no one thinks to clean it. Also be sure to pick up all counter top appliances and clean beneath them as well.

Step 4: While your hands are on all those appliances give them a wipe down as well. This is also, where we get to the electric can opener. The cleaning of this area may require some special tools in order to make sure you can get into all of the little nooks and crannies of the gears. I recommend using the small part of a bottle cleaner as well as a strong cleaning formula in order to make sure the bacteria is killed. Note it is important to be careful not to stick yourself with the blade while you are cleaning, as it is very sharp.

Step 5: We often don’t think to clean out the inside of our cabinet drawers, but often our drawers get left open allowing dirt, food particles, and dust to make their way in over time. Give your utensils a good rinse or give them a quick sanitizing  through the dishwasher, wipe down the inside of the drawers with a food safe cleaner I like method all purpose for this one. All while your cleaning out these drawers make sure you wipe down all parts of your silverware organizer too after all these things can often become a place for dirt and food particles to gather especially since you often are holding plates of food as you open them and all kinds of crumbs can fall in there.

Step 6: Wipe down the front of all cabinet doors (especially if your cabinets are white, all that cooking can cause grime to build up creating discoloration).

Step 7: Wipe down the top part of your fridge, you will find the most dust collects up here.

Step 8: Wipe down the part of the stove fan that juts out from the wall, when you are cooking with things like oil and steam this area can easily build up with grime as a result of evaporation, dust also likes to accumulate here making for a nasty spot gathering right over the location where you’re doing your cooking. Gross!

Step 9: I’m sure this is an area you are constantly attempting to keep clean, but I feel its worth mentioning anyway, clean your stove tops, remove the burners and soak the drip pans scrubbing with steel wool for those more persistent burn spots. A good way to prevent having to constantly clean these is to wrap them with aluminum foil, doing this allows you to remove the foil when it gets too dirty and just add a new clean one. For those who do a lot of cooking on the stove-top this can be a major time saver.

gloves-415390_1280Step 10: I used to use an oven cleaner to clean my oven, but the fumes from that can be very toxic so I have since switched to using baking soda and vinegar.

Step 11: Don’t forget if you have a drawer beneath the oven that holds your pots and pans, this area often gets ignored. This is very unfortunate as food is very often dropped into this drawer while you are cooking and preparing meals, be sure and remove all the pots and pans and clean this drawer out with all purpose method cleaner.

Step 12: The microwave, this is a spot everyone hates to clean, but so often it requires cleaning, remember the inner glass circle can often be removed and sent through the dishwasher. For easy cleaning, put a bowl of vinegar in the microwave for two minutes, then wipe down with a sponge.

Step 13: Clean the fridge inside and out. Use bleach cleaner on the shelves and drawers. Pull all food products out before commencing the cleaning, throw out all expired items at this time after all no point in putting spoiled food back into the clean fridge. Be sure to remove the drawers and shelves individually in order to get to the back most parts of the fridge as often times when spills occur we don’t think of the possible mess they are making down the back part of the fridge. Also, give the top of the inner fridge a good wipe down as well. Be sure to do the same with your freezer after all it gets messy too.

Step 14: Clean out your pantry, throw out expired and empty food boxes. Wipe down the shelves, and sweep the bottom part of the floor. Dust off all the cans that have been sitting for a while and donate anything you know will not be eaten, but is still considered good. Place the older cans in the front and newer cans in the back.

Step 15: Finally, the last step sweep and mop your floors.

 

If you have any kitchen cleaning tips you would like to share or feel I may have missed something please leave a comment below.

Networking Events Across the U.S.A

Kinnectpay launched it’s first magazine yesterday. Check out the amazing article I wrote for them.

Networking is a key part of any successful business. And a conference is the perfect opportunity to not only make new friends, but also to learn new skills, gain new insight, and find mentors and backers if you are in the market for those things. After a thorough search of the internet I was able to score a list of 12 amazing conferences taking place between April and June of 2017. These events are taking place all across the United States of America and provide an excellent opportunity to both inform others about what you are doing, and to gain knowledge on how you can do it even better.

Events coming up in April:

LuLac National Women’s Conference

When: March 31st and April 1st

Where: Atlanta, GA

What?: Learn how Latina women have made it big in the world of politics. The conference will also host talks on Latina women in business.

CoSN 2017 Invent the Future

When: April 3-6

Where: Chicago, IL

What?: A leadership conference for educators, and educational technology creators. This conference is aimed at technology within the education system and is an excellent went to see what is being pumped out and to meet with those who choose the technology that is going into schools.

The Human Gathering

When: April 6th to 8th

Where: Los Angeles, CA

What?: An invitation only event, this conference is for those entrepreneurs who wish to give back to the world and humanity as a whole.

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When: April 25-27

Where: Phoenix, AZ

What?: An excellent experience for small business owners. This conference aims to educate, connect, and transform small business owners.

Events coming up in May:

Collision Conference

When: May 2nd to 4th

Where: New Orleans, LA

What?: Tech entrepreneurs, this one is for you. Meet with senior members working for sites like Reddit, Ebay, and AppDynamics. Bonus this conference takes place in the middle of New Orleans, Jazz Fest!!!

Grow Conference

When: May 8th to 10th

Where: New Orleans, LA

What?: Learn to grow your business at the Grow Conference. Perfect for those who already have a business, but are struggling to make it grow. Network with other entrepreneurs and learn what really works from people who have already done it.

Texas-EU Business Summit

When: May 9th to 10th

Where: Austin, TX

What?: For entrepreneurs interested in breaking into the European Market. Texas has the largest trade of any state with the European Union. This conference is designed to allow those interested in breaking into the market to network with people from across the pond, and to hear from speakers who have already done it.

TechCrunch Disrupt NYC

When: May 15th to 17th

Where: New York City, NY

What?: Aimed at startup tech business this is the perfect conference, for anyone looking to startup and anyone running a tech business. It is as entertaining as it is educational.

World Social Marketing Conference

When: May 16th and 17th

Where: Washington, D.C

What?: Aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of social marketing this conference brings together entrepreneurs, academics, and policy makers from all over the world. If you are looking to expand your knowledge on social networking and marketing this is the conference for you.

Events coming up in June:

Next Gen Summit

When: First week of June

Where: New York City, NY

What?: Are you intimidated by conferences, because of how much older the other attendees are? Check out the Next Gen Summit, geared specifically toward millennial’s who are wanting to build a business. Learn from others who have already succeeded, meet new people, and gain business partners or mentors.

TechWeek

When/where: June 5-9 in Detroit Michigan and June 19-23 in Chicago Illinois.

What?: Techweeks sponsors multiple conferences every year all across the nation. If the above dates and locations don’t work for you be sure to check in and see what other dates they have posted. TechWeek’s mission is to spread the wealth of technology entrepreneurship.

Power of Kinnections Conference

When: June 10th

Where: Austin, TX at the Palmer Event Center

What?: Here from key speakers on how they succeeded in their entrepreneurial adventures. Learn about kinnectpay and how they can help your business grow. Learn about the world of internet marketing and social networking.

 

Do you know of any new and awesome networking opportunities taking place?  Please share in the comments below.

Also to read the rest of the magazine please head over to Kinnectpay.com