10 Ways Your Kitchen Can Make You Happier (and other equally strange musings)

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If anyone had told me I, a modern girl, could be happy in my kitchen, I would have laughed. Actually, twenty years ago, I would have probably punched you, but I have actually become quite domesticated in the passed two decades. Going across the world to one of the most dangerous places on the planet to adopt one of my children, a horrifying kite surfing accident almost paralyzing me, and the day to day struggles of my health have taken a bit of my adventurous nature out of me (at least for now).  In fact, don’t tell anyone else, but I am pretty happy cooking and organizing my kitchen on a Saturday night (like I did last night). You see, there are a lot of things in my life I cannot control at this moment. But, I can reorganize my pantry.  It has become a bit therapeutic. I’m not sure what that says about me psychologically, but let’s say you just love me for who I am and keep reading.

Now I am not saying I’m a neat freak. My friend, I can have a nasty kitchen like most  people. These pictures of my kitchen are rare moments of composure. But, I like to pretend I’ve got it together, even if it’s just to convince myself. I found some things that have helped me.

Besides, many studies have shown that women in particular are more relaxed when their home is clean and organized.

Let’s get you more relaxed, shall we? You’re so pretty.kitchen 4

Here’s the list you’ve been waiting your whole life for:

    1. Dishwashers are fabulous, my love: Stick everything you can in the dishwasher (within reason, of course- we don’t want anything melting in there). I don’t care if I run it twice a day- I will find another way to make it up to the Earth’s water supply. It sanitizes stuff. Yes, I know, the word “sanitize” makes me very happy, too. I think from now on I shall italicize that beautiful word. My wonderful Aunt Mim believed that every dish should be washed by hand. She did it this way for eighty years until her sister, who was a nurse, told her that her dishes could be sanitized if she put them in her dishwasher. Mine even has a special button that I can press that says “sanitize” (squeal!). Put everything you can in there: metal can openers (every time you use them on the dog food especially), scissors (especially when opening meat), your blender pitcher, and the dog bowl should be dish washed every day.  Try not to hand wash anything. It will make you happier. Sanitize… <hapy sigh>
    2. Line your drawers like your Mama taught you: Spend an extra few bucks and get the non-stick drawer liners for all your kitchen cabinets. You can wipe them down with Clorox wipes very easily and they look pretty. Plus, your stuff won’t look as messy in a pretty, lined drawer. I don’t know why that is, but you must trust me.
    3. Give appliances a vacation home: If you don’t use it every single day, put it below your counter. It will make you feel better. My toaster has lived very happily for some time now in a drawer below my stove top. Try to keep what’s on your counter to a minimum. I know Adele loves to clean. She even sneaks down stairs after everyone has gone to bed and washers her bare counters because it makes her happy. If it’s good enough for Adele, it is definitely good enough for you and me.kitchen 3
    4. Catch-all basket beats the drawer of doom: Most people have a junk drawer. I don’t recommend that because you never ever clean it until you have to move. That old saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” What I would recommend is a pretty basket you keep by the door where you can throw your mail in or whatever. I go through mine once or twice a month when I set our budget and pay our bills. The entire thing gets emptied, envelopes are opened that only contain bills, I get disappointed because there are no love letters from Sam Heughan, I eat chocolate pudding, and we start back over fresh.kitchen 2
    5. Clean out refrigerator weekly, avoid Gremlins: While you are putting together your grocery list, throw away bad food and give your refrigerator a wipe down. The gremlins will not invade your home if you do this.
    6. Have kids help you make the grocery list… on second thought, make them cook one night a week, too: Get your children (mine started around ten years old) to help you make a grocery list. Ask them what they need for the upcoming week and have them write it down. Talk to them about the week’s menu ideas and discuss healthy choices. If you’re blessed to have two kids, station one at the refrigerator and one at the pantry and call out ingredients you need. “Oatmeal?” you ask. “Check, chef,” the one standing by the pantry bellows. My kids like it and yours might, too. I have them pick out what meal they would like to prepare (or help prepare) and then we write down the ingredients we don’t have. I know I will be super busy Tuesday and Thursday night so they each take one of those nights to cook. The other has to do the cleanup. Also, when preparing the list, I have them check their bathrooms for shampoo, toothpaste, etc. to see if we need to buy it. We do this every Wednesday. I use the Harris Teeter’s online shopping service and pick up our groceries on Friday. I hope you have the same service because it is a wonderful time saver!
    7. Chalkboards aren’t just for teachers: Well, I’m a teacher so that rule doesn’t really apply to me. I found a beautiful chalkboard that we write an inspirational quote or verse every month and then write the days of the week and what we have to do that week (for example: Monday: 2:00 Dentist, Chris’ laundry day, Spaghetti). I try to include what we are planning to eat for dinner that night. That way, everybody knows what’s going on.
    8. I was really looking forward to that cucumber water. Refreshing,”- quote from The Other Guys. I love that hilarious movie… but I digress. Why not put a big, beautiful, drink dispenser of water with lemons, cucumbers, mint, or strawberries in it. Your kids will drink a ton of water!kitchen 5
    9. Closet Keurig fan: I hate what the Keurig machine has done for the environment, so I’ve found environmentally friendly ones, but it’s still not as good for the Earth as the old way of making coffee and also… why hasn’t someone invented a pretty way to stash the pods that go into the Keurigs? Oh, yea, I have. I use flour and sugar canisters like the ones shown below. The large one is for my husband’s caffeinated pods, the medium one is for my decaf, and the little baby bear canister is for my daughter’s apple cider pods. It is pretty and easy. I also have a matching sugar container I keep my coconut sugar I use regularly in my coffee.coffee bar 2
    10. Cushy feet mats: Why aren’t you standing on one of those? Buy one for the cooking area and one for the sink and your feet will thank you.
    11. Frame Grandma’s handwritten recipes: Wawa and Aunt Candy gave me a few handwritten recipes their mother and they wrote. It was a beautiful gift and I didn’t want anything to happen to them, so I folded them up and framed them. They are hanging in my kitchen. My mom loved the idea and is doing the same with Grandma’s recipes. I may steal those when she isn’t watching <evil laugh>.recipe fb

Below are my picks from Amazon. You should buy them all…

This mat is non-toxic. Mine is apparently very toxic, but it also has a Paris scene on it so it’s fine.

Drawer liners. I actually like these more than the gray scrolled pattern I have. I am too lazy to change them now, but I may buy these when I change them out next year. I’m sure you will be waiting on pins and needles for that post!

This toaster is so vintage cute! I don’t usually go for red, but this is too adorable.

I like this basket because it has a lid so if Sam ever does send me that love note I can hide it. Wait… did I just swoon over a toaster a second ago? No wonder Sam never writes.

This chalkboard is apparently humongous. The pictures on Amazon of it are great. Mine is a tad smaller, but I recommend a large one if you have kids. You need to keep track of things on something that everyone can read. You don’t want your child looking up your calendar on your phone do you?

I have a canister similar to this and I love it. I use it during parties and for every day. Make sure you clean the spout well. Maybe you could put it in the dishwasher! Sanitize

My mom is obsessed with cobalt blue. I’m not sure why the rest of the world is not because it is beautiful.

This sugar and creamer server is so pretty!

These are one brand of K-cups that are better for the environment.

Just in case you haven’t bought this awesome coconut sugar, here it is.

If you have little ones, make cooking fun for them at an early age since it’s a wonderful life skill for all people.

In case you were wondering who Sam Heughan is, educate yourself. You will thank me later. (This series is definitely not recommended for kids, but you will love it.)

Oh, and you also need this whale butter thing because I love you and know what’s best for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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