Cleaning, General

Tips to Prevent Spills From Staining

If you have carpet or a cloth couch, you know how terrifying it is the moment someone’s drink tips over. Especially red wines. Everyone scrambles, there are a MILLION apologies, and then the stain sets in.

Lucky for you, I’m here to tell you what to do in that moment to KEEP the stains from setting!

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The absolute FIRST thing you need to do, is to grab a towel and press on the stain. DO NOT RUB. That only spreads the mess. You’re wanting to towel to soak up most of the liquid and pull it out of the fabric. Press, move to a dry section of towel, press again. Do this repeatedly until the spill is mostly dry. You should already be noticing that the color is not as severe as it was.

Then, blot the area with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Rinse with water when done.

If the spill is STILL visible, go ahead and break out the carpet/upholstery cleaner. This should completely remove the spill, leaving no discoloration because you acted fast.

To prevent spills in the first place use scotch guard! When my mom first bought it I thought she was nuts, but it really did make a huge difference.

What’s the first thing you do when you see a spill?

Tips to Prevent Spills From Staining - The Southern Smiths: A few quick-acting tips to keep those stains from setting in!
Cooking, General

5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools

(I do not have affiliate links. All of these links are just to amazon to show the product I’m speaking of.)

If y’all haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with cooking. The more I can do from scratch, the better. I even recently found a scratch green bean casserole recipe! No cream of mushroom!

With all of this cooking, there are a few gadgets I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. Here’s my top 5!

Microwave plate-cover

Oh my gosh I love this. Sometimes, I have to heat something up (like butter), and this comes in SO handy to keep the splashing to a minimum. No more scraping food off the top of the door!

Meat Chopper

This was a stocking stuffer in my stocking about 4 years ago, and I LOVE it. It breaks up ground beef/turkey into perfect crumbles for you! It makes browning quicker and sooo much easier.

Lattice Cutter

You know all those pies I bake? I love using this tool with my easy 4-ingredient pie crust recipe. I actually have a few different lattice cutters for different looks and occasions. They save time and look SO much better than anything I can do by hand.

Blender

I wish I had a food processor, but my blender gets the job done! It is AMAZING at ricing cauliflower, no lie. I’ve also used it for a lobster bisque. Sauces, pesto, whatever I need to make this thing does its job.

Mandoline

I no longer dread slicing vegetables! I can get thin, medium, and thick slices. I can julienne, I can do anything! I’ve used it most recently for making chips! If you don’t have one, you DEFINITELY need to get one.

Do you love cooking? What are your favorite kitchen tools?

5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools - The Southern Smiths: 5 kitchen tools that will make your life easier!
General, Self-Care

Creating a Workout Routine

I’m pretty sure almost all of us are constantly saying “I need to start working out”. I know Kody and I say it to each other often! The problem is, some of us don’t really know how to do it. If we can’t afford a gym membership, then what?

If we do have a gym membership, what do we do there? All of the equipment is useless if we don’t know what to do when we get there.

So, let’s fix the problem! Let’s create a workout routine that’s doable!

If you’re going to begin working out, the number one thing is to start drinking more water. You’re going to sweat, a lot. Don’t let yourself become dehydrated! Don’t forget to stretch! Stretching before and after can help to prevent muscle injury and soreness.

Now, you need to decide how often you want to workout. If it’s been a while, every day isn’t suggested. You can burn out QUICK. I personally suggest a 3 day/rest day schedule. Workout for 3 days, then take a rest day. You may be a little stiff on your rest day, but I promise it’ll help keep you motivated knowing you’ve got a day to fill that time slot with something more relaxing.

If you’ve got a gym membership, now is the time to look for ideas. Are you wanting to do cardio? Strength training? Are you trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight? These are all things to take into account. Once you’ve figured out what your goal is, you can start looking up routines that other people have used for the same reasons! Pinterest and Google are awesome resources.

I suggest making sure you have a warm-up, workout, and then a cool down. Your body responds better when you give it room to adjust to each stage.

If you don’t have a gym membership, there are still things you can do! Youtube has a huge selection of guided home workouts! My personal favorites are the yoga videos.

You can also try going on walks, jogging or running at a local park. Some high schools even allow the public to use their tracks!

You can even go old school! Do jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches. Any workout is a good workout.

Do you have a workout routine? Share it with me!

Creating a Workout Routine - The Southern Smiths: Creating a workout routine that actually works!
Family, General

Kade Update!

I can’t believe he’s already experiencing his second set of holidays! I feel like yesterday we were heading home from Galveston, while I was freaking out thinking “It’s only been 24 hours, there’s no way we’re ready”. Now he’s a happy healthy, energetic toddler.

Kade is now 18 months old! That’s crazy, right?

He wears 12-24month shirts and 18-24month pants. His shoe size is 5-6, he wears sandals most of the time. He weighs 26 pounds, even, and is 31 inches tall.

He’s all caught up on his shots at the doctors, and has NO cavities! He currently has two more teeth coming in, and he is not happy about them. We are though! Now he’ll have 6 teeth!

He loves watching his daddy play video games, gets all into it and likes to take the controller and shoot off all the ammo Kody’s collected. Or he’ll run around doing nothing. Bath time is his favorite time of day, especially when he escapes from Kody and runs down the hall with a towel on his head. This is a nightly thing and the cutest! I’ll have to catch a picture one day.

He looks up to his brother Wade so much. I am thrilled with the bond between the two, and I hope they’re just as close to Jade when she gets here. Kade follows Wade around and has Wade reach for things, or open doors. They’re a team, the BEST team. We don’t even get woken up at night, they climb into each other’s beds if they need something. He hates the time when Wade goes to his daddy’s, but we try to give him somewhere to go like one of his aunt’s houses or with his grandparents.

His favorite thing of all, though, is food. Always. Anything. I don’t think he’s ever refused a single bite. It’s a running joke in the family that anytime someone calls to talk to him, he’s eating. Can you believe I have a baby that eats salmon and asparagus? We never have to cook separate meals for the kids.

That’s about all that’s going on with Kade right now, he’s trying to figure out the whole speaking thing.

Do you have kids? What’s their favorite thing to eat?

 Kade Update! - The Southern Smiths: An update on the youngest of the Smith clan, baby Kade!
Cleaning, General

My Cleaning Schedule

I’m going to be real here guys. I am NOT the best housekeeper. Kody can tell you, I let things slip. Stuff gets messy. That said, the mess is NEVER trash or dirty dishes. What we call “mess” is toys on the floor, blankets in the hall, or mail and papers strewn across the table.

That doesn’t sound messy to you? I used to be that way. Then I developed a cleaning schedule that knocked my mess down to clutter.

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Daily

The first thing I like to do in the morning is empty the dishwasher. It helps make sure I have all the dishes I need for the day and opens up the dishwasher so the sink doesn’t get cluttered. I also like to fold a load of laundry and load the washer. With four (soon to be five!) people in our family, there’s ALWAYS laundry to be done. Then I go back and make the beds, and make sure I’m dressed and ready for the day.

I wipe down counters and sinks at least once a day, to keep from having toothpaste build up or a food clog. Around noon, I sweep the kitchen floor and do a quick room by room pickup, putting things back in their place and throwing out the trash. Then I fold the clothes I started that morning.

At night, I load the dishwasher and run it, wipe down the counters and sweep again. I’ll run another load of laundry through that’ll be ready to fold the next morning.

Weekly

This is where my daily cleaning duty comes in to play. During the weekdays, I’ve given each day a designated chore to keep the house together.

Monday- Bathrooms

Tuesday-Mop

Wednesday-Vacuum

Thursday-Dust

Friday- Monthly Cleaning

Monthly

These are the things I make sure to do once a month, usually on Fridays.

Wipe down the walls and doors.

Clean baseboards.

Clean out the fridge.

Change the air filter for the ac.

Vacuum upholstery and under couch cushions

Dust air vents, ceiling fans, and light fixtures

Clean the top of the fridge and kitchen cabinets

Wipe down windows and window sills

Clean washer, dishwasher and coffee pot by running vinegar through them

Flip mattresses

Yearly

Last but not least, those pesky things that need to be done once a year.

January- Clean hard-to-reach places behind the stove, refrigerator, washer/dryer

February- Clean medicine cabinets, toss expired meds

March- Steam-clean carpets

April- Organize pantry and kitchen cabinets

May-Wash windows inside and out, including screens

June- Clean and organize the garage

July- Wash duvets, blankets, comforters, spreads and pillows

August – Wash walls and use touch up paint

September – Defrost and clean freezer, clean oven

October- Polish silver, wash china, dust china cabinet

November – Clean and organize personal files

December – Clean out closets and drawers, donate clothes

And that’s it! My cleaning schedule that keeps the house clean and running smoothly

Do you have a cleaning schedule? What’s your least favorite thing to clean?

My Cleaning Schedule - The Southern Smiths: The schedules you need to get your house in order, and keep it that way!
Cooking, General

My Meal Planning Rotation Board

It’s payday! Isn’t it so relieving to finally stop stressing, distribute money to bills, and get your fridge restocked?

Thankfully, that last task isn’t too daunting for me. Why? Because when I see a recipe I like, I plan to make it. If it goes well, I save it to my meal planning rotation board.

I LOVE Pinterest. Who doesn’t, right? It’s the best way to save and organize a plethora of articles, recipes, DIYs, and more! I’ve got boards for recipes, home decor, general life tips, parenting, etc. My favorite of all, though, is my meal planning board.

I’ve saved a collection of healthy breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner recipes that have gone over well at our table. I have a four-year-old and one-year-old, but that doesn’t mean the meals are kid-friendly. We’re blessed to have kids that will eat salmon, or asparagus, pork, anything I put in front of them.

Don’t fret! The healthy apple pie oatmeal cookies  or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are sure to win them over! When my kids are unsure of the meal, I tell them if they take 3 bites they can have whichever snack, and I’m fine with that because I know my snacks are healthy and protein packed.

So far I’ve got about 50 recipes saved, and I’m regularly adding more as my family reviews each meal.

These are my favorite recipes from each meal category that you can find on my board:

Breakfast: Quick and Easy Coffee Cake

Lunch: Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

Snack: Apple Slice Cookies

Dinner: Loaded Chicken and Potatoes Casserole 

If you like these recipes, make sure to follow the board! Do you have a favorite recipe board?

 My Meal Planning Rotation Board - The Southern Smiths: Healthy recipes for your family for all meals, including snacks!
Cooking, General

One Week Clean Eating Challenge

Clean eating is one of our favorite things in our family. We love only eating things we can pronounce and understand! Don’t get me wrong, we still have occasional junk food if I forget to make snacks for the week, but clean eating makes us feel much better when we stick to it.

What is clean eating?

It’s ridiculously simple. Clean eating is eating “real” foods. Minimally processed, refined and handled. As close to their natural state as possible! You don’t have to go full organic to eat clean.

How it benefits you:

Less constipation due to added fiber
Great flavors in your dishes from natural ingredients
Better moods and mental well-being due to natural vitamins and dopamine enhancers
Higher energy levels due to stable energy sources

 

So, does it sound like something you want to try? I challenge you to ONE week of clean eating! That’s it, just one!To help you get started, here are a week’s worth of clean eating dinner recipes I use for our family!

1.Cheesy Kielbasa, Rice and Broccoli Skillet 

2.One-Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies

3.One-Pan Lemon Garlic Salmon and Asparagus

4.Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Carrots, With Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5.Spaghetti Squash and Homemade Meatballs 

6.Sheet Pan Baked Parmesan Porkchops with Asparagus and Potatoes

7.Mini Meatloaves, Green Beans and Potatoes

What do you think? Are you up to the challenge? Let me know if you decide to take it!

 One Week Clean Eating Challenge - The Southern Smiths: I've included a week's worth of dinner recipes to help you out!
Cleaning, General

7 Must-Have Cleaning Products

(This post may contain affiliate links. You can learn more in my disclaimer.)

Does anyone enjoy cleaning? Like, get joy from it or feel relaxed while doing it, and not after? If so, your house must be spotless!
I am not one of those people. I despise cleaning. I don’t even know what “caught up on laundry” feels like. I’d die to have an affordable maid service in my area!
But, life is not a dream. These are my 7 must-have products that make cleaning a little less stressful!

Magic Eraser

Of course there is a brand name one, but honestly? I’ve used the $2 dollar store version and almost prefer it. With the link above, you can get 20 for a steal!! Whichever way you go, this thing is AMAZING. It’s a foam “sponge” that you add water to, and then the magic happens. There’s no chemical odor, and honestly, I’ve tried to figure out what’s in it but I can’t seem to (or maybe I’m just not looking hard enough right now?).

This thing has helped me remove crayon from beds and walls, cleaned my stove top and kitchen appliances, and even shined the sink! I can’t live without one.

Lysol Wipes

Or any brand disinfectant wipe. These are a must-have for quick counter wipes, high chair cleanups, even wiping messes off of the tablecloth! I use them more than I should, but I can’t get over the one-stop wipe and done quickness. At the link above, you can get THREE 110ct wipes for a ridiculously low price.

Soap dispensing dish brush

Guys. This thing is amazing. It has severely cut down on how often I have to buy dish soap. I’m the annoying person who has a dishwasher but expects you to wipe down your plate before you use it. It doesn’t remove stuck on grime, y’all.

And most of these brushes (like the one above) have disposable tips, so when the sponge becomes gunky and unusable, just pop the top into the trash and put on a clean one!

Vacuum attachments

I cannot survive without these. My favorite would have to be the angled tip. I use this to get into corners and creases of my couch, or those hard to reach edges under the lip of cabinets and appliances.
And of course, the fabric cleaner attachment is a must-have. I use it for curtains, the couch cushions, and most importantly, my car!

Extension duster

This one is a bit pricier, but /so/ worth it!

We have a cove ceiling in the living room, and let me tell you. That lip can gather some dust! That’s where my extension duster comes in. I can easily reach, and dust the ceiling corners and edges without stretching or balancing on chairs and pillows.
I also like to use it for ceiling fans!

Swiffer

I remember when these came out. We had wood floors growing up, and these made my life so much easier. Now as an adult, I have carpet, but I keep a Swiffer for my tiled areas. It’s so nice to not have to fill up a mop bucket and drag it around just for a simple under the table mop.

Spot Cleaner

If you have carpet, these are definitely worth the investment (Especially if you’re renting!). I can’t tell you how nice it is to not panic every time one of the kids spills jello or kool-aid, or a friend knocks over a glass of cabernet. Of course, I do the initial pat dry routine, but you know how those reds are.
The spot cleaner gets the job done! I place it over the area and let it do its thing. So much better than the old spray-and-brush routine

What are your favorite cleaning products? Do you use any of my favorites? Let me know in the comments below!

7 Must-Have Cleaning Products - The Southern Smiths: 7 cleaning products that make my day so much easier! Stop stressing over chores!
Cooking, General, Thanksgiving

Easy 4-Ingredient Pie Crust Recipe

This is Kody’s great-grandmother’s recipe. It is the most delicious, buttery flavored, perfectly flaky crust I’ve ever eaten.

And it’s so simple to do yourself!

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Ingredients (1 shell):
1 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter flavored Crisco
¼ cup water

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Step 1: combine flour, salt, and Crisco. Sift through hands until it reaches a soft crumble consistency.

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Step 2: slowly add water while kneading the mixture into itself. This will begin to form the dough. Keep kneading and pushing out air. When the dough is soft and slightly sticky (doesn’t stick to your hands) form into a ball. Use the ball to pick up leftover pieces in the bowl. Mold the ball in your hands, pushing out any air bubbles. Smooth any cracks by pinching the dough together and pushing out air.

Step 3: on a floured surface, roll out the dough. Make sure your hands and rolling pin are also floured. Roll dough evenly to ¼ in thickness. Carefully lift the dough and lay into prepared pie pan.

Step 4: Cut excess dough, leaving a ½ inch lip over the edge of the pie pan. Fold this lip under and into the pan, and then crimp or pinch around the edge of your dough.

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Step 5: Using a fork, poke small holes throughout the bottom and around the sides of the dough to create a vent for the crust while baking.

Fill pie and bake according to filling directions. If the crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.

Ingredients (1 shell):
1 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter flavored Crisco
¼ cup water

Step 1: combine flour, salt, and Crisco. Sift through hands until it reaches a soft crumble consistency.

Step 2: slowly add water while kneading the mixture into itself. This will begin to form the dough. Keep kneading and pushing out air. When the dough is soft and slightly sticky (doesn’t stick to your hands) form into a ball. Use the ball to pick up leftover pieces in the bowl. Mold the ball in your hands, pushing out any air bubbles. Smooth any cracks by pinching the dough together and pushing out air.

Step 3: on a floured surface, roll out the dough. Make sure your hands and rolling pin are also floured. Roll dough evenly to ¼ in thickness. Carefully lift the dough and lay into prepared pie pan.

Step 4: Cut excess dough, leaving a ½ inch lip over the edge of the pie pan. Fold this lip under and into the pan, and then crimp or pinch around the edge of your dough.

Step 5: Using a fork, poke small holes throughout the bottom and around the sides of the dough to create a vent for the crust while baking.

Fill pie and bake according to filling directions. If the crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.

Let us know if you try this recipe in the comments below!

 Easy 4-Ingredient Pie Crust Recipe - The Southern Smiths: The perfect flaky pie crust for your holiday pies!
General, Self-Care

5 Ways To Make Time For Yourself

All too often we get caught up in the daily tasks and obligations of life. Whether it’s work, blogging, or taking care of kids, every one of us knows what it’s like to end the day completely exhausted. Don’t you wish you had 5 minutes to do something for yourself?

As a pregnant mom of two, I feel this all too often. These are a few ways I am able to squeeze in some much needed “me time”

Wake up earlier

Are you a last minute sleeper? Do you like to sleep up until the EXACT minute you need to get dressed and go? If so, this is a perfect place to try and squeeze in some me time.

Get up earlier! Get up 30minutes to an hour before you need to leave. Go ahead and go through your regular routine of getting dressed, and then, relax! Make a pot of coffee or tea. Read a chapter of a book, watch some morning shows, listen to a podcast. Take these quiet early morning hours to really spend time with yourself, and wake up. Have yourself a full breakfast!

As a mom, I utilize this by waking up an hour before my children do. I can get myself ready for the day, have breakfast prepared for them when they come down the hall and have some prayer or meditation time. I also like to set my intention for the day.

Stay up later

Are you super strict about your own bedtime? Chart your sleep schedule for a week. Determine if you might be sleeping too much. That DEFINITELY contributes to those groggy days, and there IS such a thing as oversleeping.

In the past, I’ve discovered that staying up a few hours past my kid’s bedtime gives me some much needed time with my husband. If he takes this time to do something for himself (video games, working out, hanging with friends), I’m able to do the same for myself. This is usually spent setting up blog posts and images, redesigning the website, or taking a nice long shower (and SHAVING!).

Actually take lunch

This is for all you hard workers, eating salad from home over your keyboard while clocked out, but still responding to emails. If you have a designated lunch break, TAKE IT. Lunch-BREAK.

Get on Netflix, scroll through Facebook, GET OFF THE EMAILS. Call in an order and have a WARM lunch.

Join the coworkers wherever they might be going for the day. Use this opportunity to grab your favorite beverage, or listen to a podcast, whatever it is that relaxes and motivates you to get through your day.

Add it to your schedule

Do you live by a super strict, hour by hour time slot schedule? If so, did you know you can pencil yourself in? Seriously! Try it! Give yourself a single hour this week.

Get out your planner, open your calendar app, bring up your spreadsheet. Pick a single daytime hour this week that isn’t filled yet. Now, title it “Me Time”. Don’t schedule a specific event. Don’t make it long shower day, or read a book hour. Leave it blank.

When that day comes, and it’s finally your scheduled appointment with you, /do whatever you want to do/! That does not mean “Oh, I’m behind on this project I should use this time productively”. No. I want you to be unproductive. I want you to do something for yourself.

Look up a new yoga video, find a guided meditation, browse your /personal/ social media. Call your cousin, sister, aunt, and just chat. Do something with the intent of making yourself feel better.

Write out your to-do list

This seems weird, right? You may ask “How is this making time for myself? Isn’t this just another task to add to my already overloaded tasklist?”. Maybe. Maybe it is too much, and it’s a crazy idea. On the other hand, you may be like me. You may live daily with a running list in your head of all the things that you need to get done this week, month, year. You have no deadlines in sight, just a repeating list.

Writing it out does two things for me: it allows me to list things in order of priority, and it allows me to see my progress as I mark things off. Once you’ve got them written out, you can actually assign days for them to be done, instead of waking up each day with a million things left to do. Spread them out and make your week more organized, and less stressful!

I hope these tips help you squeeze in some YOU-time!

What’s your favorite way to spend your alone time? Let me know in the comments below!

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 5 Ways To Make Time For Yourself - The Southern Smiths: A few tips to squeeze some you-time into your busy day!