Tag Archives: home

How I Made (& Use) My Preschooler’s Routine Chore Chart


This year my goal is to get my house in order! You know what I mean, everyone running on a comfortable routine that keeps things moving, but with room to grow.

Paper Pushing.

One of the things I made last summer was this chart, for lack of a better term, for my oldest daughter {3.5-years-old}. She is always asking, “What are we doing next?” “What are we doing today?” “Can I do _____ now?” She is also a huge help with some things if I have the time to train her how as well as reminder her to do them. I’m praying that, with a little consistency on my part, these tools can help our entire household stay in order this year.

Check out the step-by-step process to making and using this routine chore chart as well as FREE PRINTABLES so you can make one for your home simply and easily. I’m sharing all of this over at the homemaker’s challenge. While you’re over there, you should check out all the other GREAT new years posts! {Homemaker’s Challenge F-R-E-E Recipe eBook coming soon!}

How is your new year going? Start the conversation below!


Advent {Day 6}: The Fridge


I know this is not your typical Advent day but it’s something that needs to be done in “a time of expectant waiting” of  and “preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas.

Cleaning out and Organizing your refrigerator in precautionary measure that needs to happen in anticipation of the celebratory gifts that need to be stored and/or it’s leftovers. As you are cleaning don’t forget to Thanks God for all that He has provided!

If your fridge is a disaster right now that’s fine! The majority of homes in America are. Here is how I suggest starting the cleaning process:

  1. Take EVERYTHING out placing then on an empty counter
  2. Organize as you pull things out: meats, veggies, fruits, cheeses, entries, trash/expired, condiments, drinks, etc.
  3. Wipe them all down as you pull them out so they won’t have that fridge gunk on the bottom when you go to put them back in your clean fridge

Now that you have a nothing but the sticky piles, puddles and dried on yukies Start with your drawers:

  1. Pull all your drawers out
  2. Wash them inside and out with hot water and multi-purpose cleaner over at your sink 
    {or in a bathtub for less splatter clean up or if you have limited counter space}
  3. Let the drawers air dry on a giant bath towel {or over the edge of you tub} while you work on the shelves, trays, and walls
    {you can always hand dry the rest of the way before re-inserting}

Now that those are drying work on the nasty inside:

  1. grab a bow of HOT water, multi-purpose cleaner, dishcloth/spung, and maybe even an old used toothbrush {for the OCD}
  2. spray everything: each shelf, trays in the door, and wall {extra coat for the piles, puddles, and yukies}
  3. start scrubbing from back to front and from the top down {this will help you end up with one giant pile of … yeah at the end.
  4. Make sure to rinse your dishcloth or spung often keeping the dishcloth warm/hot so it will steam off that cold blah that been growing for a while

WA-LA! Just like new…well, hopefully ;o)

Now here’s the fun part…putting things back in an organized manner. WHY?

  1. To help yourself keep it organized {especially with the rapid amount of things that will be coming in this season}
  2. You, your kids and your spouse will know the general area to find things
  3. You’ll know when things need to be thrown out!

Hopefully you’ve got items sorted and wiped down already, if not, do it now. Now that you think you are about to place everything back in, there’s one more thing that needs to become a habit when putting ANYTHING into your fridge:

  1. Have a “Throw It Out” rule about how long things can stay in your fridge {mine is ~1  month depending on the item, and the printed expiration date for those that have it}
  2. Label containers with what it contains and the date it was made/stored on the side of the container {easily visible}
    {I like to keep a roll of masking tape and a fun colored pin in the drawer next to the fridge for colorful, handy labeling}
  3. OR Label using the the “TRASH IT” date–> look at the calendar and label the date it needs to be thrown away
    {we usually eat our’s before then}
    {*side note: I like to label veggies on top of their lid so can quickly see them when looking down into the drawer}

After everything is sorted, clean and labeled your going to have to decide where the most convenient place is for your most used items OR the best fit:

  1. Some fridge, like mine, already have labeled drawers: “meat”, “fruit/vegetable”, and “cheese”. Use them for that.
  2. This might not work for everybody because you may have way more cheese and meat than the labeled drawers allow. If that’s the case and it bothers you to have the wrong labels…relabel if you want.
    {see how having them labeled lets you quickly see what you have and by putting even the veggies in containers into the drawer, you’ve saved yourself the shelf space}
  3. Place condiments that fit into the door {tallest to shortest}{side note *I like to keep my stick butter in the door so it’s closer to room temp when I decide to back since that’s the only thing I use if for}
  4. Store other items in the logical space they will fit in. Most fridges have adjustable shelves and trays so move them around and see what works for you.
  5. Large items like milk, juice, or 2 leader bottles fit the best on the top shelf or bottom door tray for us.
  6. Smaller items like eggs can fit under drawers or on shorter shelves.
  7. Make sure to put milk product IN the fridge on a shelf, not in the door for safer temperatures!

How to get rid of left overs:

  1. Leftover lunches! {we do this most days: makes for fast prep!}
  2. Let you Kids choose their meal {let them be creative by making odd combinations–>rice, hotdog, and yogurt}
  3. Use them to help you decide what’s for dinner {add a side or entre is easier than making an entire meal}
  4. Snacks
  5. Host more guests for meal times!

I hope these tricks we try to use help you keep that refrigerator rotating in and out yummy food this season!
Have any suggestions to add? Please share in the comment section!

To read more Rothacher’s Advent Days click—>
Advent {Day 1}: Cookie Swap

Advent {Day 2}: Dizzie Izzie’s
Advent {Day 3}: Giving Christmas Away
Advent {Day 4}: Homemade Gifts
Advent {Day 5}: HIPPY Christmas Party

Pumpkin Patch Tradition


Last year we began one of my favorite family traditions thus far! We went with another couple from church to the local pumpkin patch (~45min away). We had so much fun! The weather was just right. We watched pig races, crawled through hay tunnels, let the kids pet all kinds of farm animals, picked out pumpkins to take home, and ate at a nearby restaurant.

I love having annual thing our children can look forward to every year! Just like in any other tradition, there needs to be a little wiggle room. Ya know, adjustments for a different season {children’s ages, interests, abilities, learning capacity, etc}. With Maggie being our oldest (3) this trip is still mainly focused around tangible learning, experiences, and making memories for our kiddos! As my children get older, this tradition can grow with us. We will be able to stay for a longer outing, with that, adding even more teachable moments. Moving from simple “stay near mommy and daddy” obedience to more detailed instructional obedience on where they may go, how they may do it, and for how long; from “can you say pig, goat, pumpkin, watermelon, hay, tractor…” to learning more detailed learning about animals, fruit and vegetables, and farm stuff in general; from “here’s the lunch mommy packed for you” to “______, can you make the sandwiches, and serve _______”, etc. Making memories is always our main goal! I think we’ve accomplished that both years.

This year we were ecstatic to return for more adventures with two different couples from church and their children plus my father-in-love. The pumpkin patch was even better than the year before. I wouldn’t have guessed it could get better.

Again, the weather was just right! We made our way through a child-sized hay maze.

Watched hilarious pig races. Crawled through an even longer hay tunnel.

{We had the privilege of sharing the day with my Father-in-Love as well. Mom was on a women’s retreat.}

Did lots of swinging on tire swings. Let the kids pet a bigger variety of animals.

{Possibly my FAV pic of the day}

Went on the hay ride.

Ate our picnic lunches.

{3 generations of Rothacher Men}

Played in a big corn box (similar to the sand box but for younger children).

{Yep, this one carried 1/2 the corn home with her in her diaper}

Looked at piles of pumpkins before heading home for naps.

We took ~360 pictures of all the fun! Thanks for taking the time to view just some of our memories!
Friend me on Facebook to see more of this adventure and many other.


Tonight we are planning to work on our family costume for a costume party, carve and paint pumkins, and finalize decorations for our van to participate in Trunk or Treat at our church{Post(s) to come}.
What kind of FALL traditions do you have with your family?

Taco Soup


Hubs walks in at 4:15 from work. We usually eat around 5ish. I have not started dinner…TACO SOUP!

2 lbs hamburger meat (we use lean ground beef)
2 cans whole kernel corn (we use 1 large family size can)
2 cans rotel diced tomatoes
1 pkg dry taco seasoning
1 pkg dry hidden valley ranch dressing mix
1 small chopped onion (we use ~3 tsp of onion pwd- don’t like the texture of actual onions)

Brown meat with onions and then drain. Combine all ingredients (can add water if you want it soupier), bring to boil, then walk away and let it simmer about 30 minutes. Make a bed of fritos, pile on the taco soup, and top with shredded cheese!









There is always more than enough for a couple rounds of left overs and this reheats fabulous!!! I didn’t say it was healthy but it sure is quick and YUMMY! Enjoy!
*Thanks to Sally Hudson for this amazing receipt!

Do you have any favorite receipts you can share. Love to hear’m!

A Journey of God’s Goodness


Today’s post is a guest post from my amazing Hubs, Matt Rothacher!

A journey of God’s goodness

When guests come to our house I often find myself telling various length versions of how we came to reside in 5 Concord Drive, and my wife asked me to share one of those versions here (she was vague on the length so if this gets really long, she brought this upon herself)…

About a year ago my lovely wife and I began to feel that God was moving us into a new place of ministry and, as with any move, perhaps the most important facet is where you will live. My bride loves looking at different houses and so anytime a new church would contact us it would free her up to scour the internet looking for our next home. Now, I’m not as big of a house enthusiast as my wife, but I did get excited to search for our next abode, so I helped in the internet hunt. As I did, I stumbled across an enormous house in the area of town we were looking for a price well below the norm. The house was listed on multiple sites, but the majority of those only had a single picture of the outside. With much effort, I found the one site with pictures of the inside. The aesthetic condition of the inside appeared to be a big part of why it was priced where it was, and I set my heart on it.

To understand the whole picture of this gift I have to let you in on what God was doing in me apart from just relocate. For weeks, prior to beginning the interview process, my emotions had been going haywire. I would find myself tearing up when watching the Biggest Loser, which isn’t totally abnormal but I was crying when they’d step on the scale before any emotional twist came. It was always the same- I felt the need for the emotional release and tears would start to come out and then it was if someone just shut it off and the fullness would remain. Then God clued me in on what was going on.

I was sitting in the initial interview meeting with the staff of our new church, and noticed both of them using iPhones which of course set off my “I want one of those” rants, and they assured me that all staff received an iPhone. I couldn’t tell you anything else about that meeting after that but I came home telling my wife all about the iPhone and little else about the church. This caused me to stop and ask God why I was so excited about a silly phone. What I found is something I’m not proud of; I had lost my faith in God’s goodness towards me and my life. Now I could with great confidence and belief tell you that God desired to give you the desires of your heart, I just had become jaded to the fact that He cared about my desires. Or rather that my desires just never matched His for my life.

This poor thinking was a direct result of the birth of my first child, Maggie. I, like most men, really wanted a boy (for the record I would not trade my Maggie for a thousand boys) and the entire pregnancy I wanted this baby to be a boy. I knew though, from the very beginning, that she was not a boy. We didn’t find out the sex until her birth but I knew. I knew because I wanted a boy and therefore God would not give one to me. It was a horrible image of God, I knew this, but it was my image of Him. Apparently it was set in place almost two years before I realized it bothered God even more than it bothered me. So back to the iPhone and my question, “why this phone was so exciting?” God’s answer to my question was one that spoke healing into my heart. “I am going to prove my goodness to you through this move. I want to give you the desires of your heart even the ones as small and seemingly insignificant as an iPhone.”

I mentioned that the house was already listed well below average, so much so that you looked at the price, and then at the square footage and concluded: problem. Something’s gotta be wrong with it. We were sure that there was probably something wrong with the foundation and clearly the interior needed some immediate attention, but I loved it and began asking God to give it to me at a price our family could afford. We made an offer $25,000.00 below the asking price, contingent on there not being  foundation damage, and they took it! Our home inspection found nothing wrong with the foundation at all, which came as shock to everyone but my wife and I. The price of the house versus the size of the house was so  unbelievable to the bank financing our loan that they sent their own inspector and made a structural engineer come out to look at it; it passed again! Every step of the move God showered His goodness upon me with the house being the second biggest blessing of it. God capped off our move with a completely unexpected blessing. His name is Benjamin and he is the son of my right hand. My God gives the best gifts; he truly cares about the desires of His children’s heart!

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” –Jesus (Matthew 7:11)

*To learn more about My handsome hubby or to read Matt’s blog click here.

31 Days to Clean: Day #1


31 Days to Clean Having a Martha House the Mary way

Day 1: Why Clean?

Mary Challenge: Make your “mission statement”.  Mine states:

“I want my home to be a comfortable place to live;

where my children have fun throughout the day,

my husband is relaxed,

 as a family, we are free to host guests at any time without feeling embarrassed about the condition of my home,

as well as be a good steward of what God has so richly blessed me with.

I want to Want and Love to live in my HOME.”

My inspiration comes from a passage in the Old Testament every time I think about how I want to go about this hospitable thing:

2 Kings 4:10
10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him.
Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

My goal is to meet the needs of my family but right along side that to also create an atmosphere where any and everyone feel welcome, loved, comfortable and a desire to hang out at any hour of the day (this gets us in bind some days, hehe)! I also want to meet even the simplest needs: The text version, a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp, equates to our family providing a guest room (even if that means my kids will always share rooms), uncluttered space to bring in their things and/or a place at our table to eat, plenty of seating for conversation, and practical items: Extra toiletries, quick-fix food, etc.

Martha ChallengeMake your mission statement pretty and place it somewhere you can see it daily then organizing supplies.

I edited a picture (which I LOVE doing) of my home and typed out my “mission statement” on it, printed it at Wal-Mart and bought a CHEAP frame, then I gave it a home, with this yummy candle, on my kitchen counter between the sink and the stove. Just the place to see it (multiple times) daily!
I feel kinda silly posting all this but I am hoping to hear Your stories of “why” you clean!
To read more about the Shunammite woman, Elisha, and her reward for hospitality, click here.