New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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Totally Together

Write On / Wipe Off Chore Charts

January 8, 2012 by · 16 Comments 

It’s 2012. I’ve spent the last four years of my life on the internet, and I love how I continue to learn new things. I developed a slight addiction to Pinterest over the holiday break (what? it was only supposed to last a week and I stretched it into a month? shhh. don’t tell anyone.) and learned that you can make ANYTHING into a white board with a cheap dollar store picture frame and a dry erase marker.

I think I’m in love.

The above frames were made in about 37 minutes. It took me a while to figure out the actual dimensions of the frame– 8 x 10 means that if you’re using a power point presentation you should size your project for 6.6 x 9.

You’re Welcome!

Another Thing to Note:  the glass at the dollar store breaks really, really easily. I broke the glass on each of these frames, and ended up going out into the shed to find old pictures to steal the glass (one might of been from Adam and his college friends. oops.). I’d maybe find cheapish frames at Kohl’s or Target that match instead.

My kids don’t seem to care that I’ve written a housekeeping journal/planner, or have developed a clever acronym for decluttering. They also don’t care that I get thank you notes every day in my email box which continues to perplex my #butIhelpotherpeoplewhydoesntmyownfamilylisten crazy brain.

it’s okay. I’ve come to terms with it.

Anyhow, I wrapped these chore charts up and handed them to my 7 and 10-year-old daughters (their names are on the charts, but I’ve covered them with tape because I’ve promised Adam I won’t exploit the kids on the internet) as New Year’s presents.

My 10 year old rolled her eyes, but my 7-year-old was uber excited and got to work checking things off her list immediately. If you’re looking for a guideline for age-appropriate chores, this list is a good one. Our picture frame chore charts have now been in action for exactly one week, and so far so good.

How was your New Year’s? Any big ideas for 2012? Did you make a vision board?

it’ll be a good year. I promise.

Getting Ready for Easter

April 15, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

image courtesy of

Easter is coming, and the bunny’s getting fat.

or something along those lines…

It looks like we’ll have a full house this year, and I couldn’t be happier. Adam and I really enjoy having everybody over to our house, rather than having to hop (HA! HOP! so didn’t plan that) around from house to house to ensure we see all of the relatives.

We’ve usually got the cooking stuff squared away, but in the last day or two we do need to kick it up a notch around the house in order to feel relaxed and comfortable when guests arrive. The good news is that our family is a team, and nothing fully rests upon any one person (like me. :-) ) If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember that your family loves you no matter what, and they are not judging you for the layer of dust clinging for it’s life from the ceiling fan blade.

really. they aren’t.

but in the mean time, press pause, climb on the table with a box of baby wipes (or clorox wipes) and clean that puppy off before someone inadvertantly flips the switch and you’ve got dust bunnies (HA! again! but I felt that one coming on…) stuck to the deviled eggs.

Here are some past articles to help you out:

Clean Less, Play More

Spring Cleaning for the Sane

How to Company Clean in 30 Minutes–or less!

if you’re on top of things, why don’t you cross a few things off of your Punch List this weekend. It’s amazing how a tiny bit of touch-up paint around the doorjams really brightens and freshens a room. If that’s not possible, IT’S OKAY. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and call it a day.

Your family is here to see you and the kids. It’s your house, your rules, your day.

life is good.

I‘ve got a new interview up with Michelle Stern, of What’s Cooking With Kids that you should totally check out. She went from being a Pampered Chef consultant to starting her own certified-green cooking school, wrote a cookbook, and visited the White House for the Chefs In Schools initiative! I’m giving away a copy of her new cookbook, The Whole Family Cookbook.

the last week of the year.

December 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 



It’s the end of the line. You’ve done it.

This is a week of recovery—-for the next 5 days (4, if you’re entertaining for New Year’s Eve like we are), just put things away and get back on track.

Find a space for everything. If you’ve run out of space, PROM again. If you are planning on moving, or planning on adding on, that’s great. But unless you’re packing up tomorrow or breaking ground, you’ve got to embrace your current space and living arrangements. Make it work.

You can do it.

It’ll be okay.



meal plan

daily 7

Tuesday, the 355th day of the year

December 21, 2010 by · 2 Comments 


Last night was Winter Equinox. And a full Lunar Eclipse.


The girls and I crammed a million things into our day yesterday—-but it was worth it. We did end up at Michael’s, and while I was prepared for the worst, it was actually a fun visit. We wandered the aisles, and picked up lots of craft supplies on clearance.

I’m learning how to Skype. I feel like such a dork that I’ve never done it before this past weekend, and so I spent a ton of time playing around with it yesterday. I set the kids up on the desktop and I was on the laptop. There was a lot of shouting and squealing—it was great.


ten days left in this year. make them count. it’s now or never to start your 2010 exercise regimen… 😉

daily 7

take a nap

I’ve got $100 up for grabs at Totally Together Reviews

BlogHer needs more entries on this laptop giveaway

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