Today I am looking forward to introducing you to someone who is well-known across several blogging niches as a homeschooler, homemaker and author. Today the topic is everything homemaking and I think you will be blessed to here from Angie Kauffman, an original “domestic mess” gone “domestically challenged.”
Angie, a domestically challenged nerd, can be found writing at Many Little Blessings about life between loads of laundry. She is also the founder of The Homeschool Classroom, Catholic Printables Online, and Catholic Mothers Online. Angie also listens to music every chance she gets, writes eBooks, loves Pinterest, begrudgingly uses Google+, and occasionally sleeps.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, your family, your home, etc.
My name is Angie, and I’ve been married for almost 18 years to my high school sweetheart. We have three children, ranging in age from nine to fourteen. I left a teaching career over ten years ago to be able to spend time with my children, as well as to set my own schedule and work through my state’s early intervention program to help children under the age of three with special needs and developmental delays. Later, however, we felt called to begin homeschooling our children, which we’ve been doing for the past six years.
I started out my married life as a domestic mess. It’s taken a lot of years, and now I’m at a point that I call it domestically challenged. I’ve come a long way, but I still need to grow. I’ve also learned that I need to work closely with my children to save them from starting off their adult lives as domestically helpless as I was, even if it’s usually easier to just do tasks myself.
2. What is your favorite homemaking activity? (i.e. cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc.)
I love organizing. I have a tendency to get laser focused when it comes to organizing, so a seemingly simple task of just straightening things in one drawer may turn into a day long job of cleaning out my entire desk.
In fact, that just happened a few weeks ago. I was helping my 14 year old (who has Autism and ADHD) stay on task while he worked on his Teaching Textbooks lesson at my desk, and I thought I would clean out one desk drawer while redirecting him as needed. As soon as we finished our lessons for the day, I couldn’t stop organizing my desk until I finally ended up with one empty drawer and two trash bags full of things to get rid of.
3. Approximately how many hours a week do you devote to keeping your house clean?
Oh wow – I have no idea! I know that it usually seems like a pretty endless task. I try to do a little bit everyday, especially laundry. Without keeping up regularly on laundry, we’d get hopelessly behind.
4. What tools have you found most beneficial in getting your children involved in the homemaking process?
It’s not really a tool, but I have found that the most beneficial thing in getting my children involved in homemaking is just simply taking time to teach them tasks and encouraging their efforts. I have also found that it is much easier when I’m able to work one-on-one with a child instead of trying to work with all three of them at the same time. That allows me to get a better grasp on what they are understanding and what they are still struggling with.
I talked about several different areas of homemaking in my eBook Training Your Children in Home Economics. In the eBook, I give a lot of tips of steps to take to teach various skills, as well as some printable progress sheets.
5. How do you balance homemaking, homeschooling, and/or other responsibilities?
If homemaking, homeschooling, blogging, and all of my other tasks were solely my responsibility, there would be no way that I could keep up. I rely heavily on help from my whole family. My husband has always seen housework and other homemaking tasks as a joint effort. That was very helpful when we had children, because they have grown up seeing that we both just pitch in to get things done. As they’ve gotten older, we’ve been trying harder to teach them how to do the tasks as well.
Now, as far as balance goes, I don’t think I can speak very well to balance. Instead, I’m mostly either busy, tired, or both.
6. What are your top 5 favorite tools for cleaning, cooking, and/or organizing your home?
Five of my favorite tools for cleaning, cooking, and other household tasks include:
- My Kitchen Aid stand mixer: I could never make a list like this without including my mixer on the list. I love that thing. I love that with it, I can do other tasks while mixing. Plus, it’s just lovely and shiny red.
- Disposable dusting clothes: These are my favorite for giving to the kids to do dusting. I like that they don’t have to carry around cleaners. They can just use the clothes until they are too dust-filled.
- A High Efficiency Washer and Dryer: I know that this isn’t an inexpensive tool. However, when we had some extra money because of an economic stimulus check many years ago, we decided to do just that (stimulate the economy) and bought the new washer and dryer. The large size of our front loading set has saved me a lot of time on the never ending task of laundry.
- A checklist: If you’re someone who loves being able to check off tasks, like I am, then a checklist for various home management responsibilities can be invaluable. I love checking out other people’s ideas so much that I have a whole Pinterest board just focused on Cleaning Schedules.
- An organized kitchen: I know this isn’t really a tool, but I think that an organized kitchen can help you more with cooking and baking than pretty much any tool that you can add to your kitchen. The less time you have to spend looking for items, the less time you’ll spend preparing meals.
7. What is one post you share on your blog related to the topic of homemaking that you’d love for others to check out?
Here is one that I really enjoyed writing, which has a lot of tips for those needing a little extra help in the kitchen:
Don’t Let a Messy, Inefficient Kitchen Hurt Your Cooking Skills: 15 Kitchen Tips
(It was part of what started as a series on my blog: Hope for the Kitchen Hopeless)
8. What is the best homemaking advice you have received and/or could give?
The best advice I can give is to highly suggest that moms get their whole family involved in homemaking tasks. Not only is it a great help, but in involving children in those tasks, it will help them to be more self-sufficient adults.
Have any homemaking questions for Angie?
Take it to the next level with these resources:
- Organize Now!: A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life by Jennifer Ford Berry
- My CC Home Keeping and Cleaning Tips and Tricks Pinterest boards for more home keeping inspiration and cleaning tips