How to get your kids to clean- and love it!

I have a confession to make. I have tricked my children into cleaning, and I have brainwashed them to LOVE it. They actually fight over who gets to clean what, and who’s turn it is to clean the floor.

I know what you’re thinking.

“WHAT? HOW ON EARTH DID YOU MANAGE THAT?”

Well you see I got tired of hollering at them to clean up, tired of fighting with them to pick up their toys, and I got really tired of being mommy maid.

Today, the house was a disaster, and in desperate need of spring cleaning. So, I made up a funny little game.

I said, “Imagine an alien came in here and started throwing around your toys. That’s who made this huge mess. It was an alien who messed up the house.”

I’m giving them a way out, see? Taking away the guilt trip of who made the mess. It wasn’t their fault, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. Oh no, it was a crafty little purple alien taking the responsibility for destroying the house.

“Then, the Men in Black came to the rescue and shot him with a big shiny gun. So he exploded.”

Then I grandly waved my arms around in a great state of shock, “Now just look at all the alien slime all over everything! He splattered all over! We have to be the clean up crew to clean up this mess! Because that’s our job.”

Then I got out some rags for dusting, roped the hubby into vacuuming, and we promptly got underway.

Let me tell you, they loved it.

They weren’t cleaning. Oh no, they were professional alien goo cleaners, scrubbing the crime scene back to spotless glory.

And they did and amazing job. They wiped every surface, the toys even got a wipe before they were put away. They fought over who was going to wipe the lamp, before coming up with a way that they could all wipe it. About an hour later, house was spotless.

That’s all you do. You have to think like them. It helps if you watch a lot of cartoons, as it makes coming up with plot lines a lot easier. And you know what? It’s the most fun EVER. It’s a bonus that the house gets clean.

A word of warning: You have to play too or it won’t work.

Trust me, it’s worth letting go for an hour. Stop being a dictator and play like a kid. Enter their world of imagination. Think like a kid again. Have some FUN! Who knew cleaning could be a fun game? But before you know it, you’ll all be singing, “Everything is awesome when you’re part of a team! Everything is AWESOME!!!”

Everyone was happy.

Well, maybe not the hubby. He was taken completely off guard by the enthusiasm for cleaning so early on a Saturday and demanded to talk to the union rep about being forced to work through his morning coffee.

But here’s how I see it – play with them now while they’re willing, because one day they will grow up into teenagers, lock themselves in their room and you’ll never see them again. You’ll be like:

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Tomato soup and tuna buns.

A rich and hearty tomato soup that’s ready in minutes. Serve with tuna buns. Is this the perfect meal for a cold day or what?

That’s all I have to say about this recipe, actually. Soup and sandwich. Doesn’t get more simple than that.

Breakfast for Dinner: Baked Pancake

Sometimes you just don’t have a clue what to make for supper. Maybe you’re like me and you forgot to defrost a chicken, and besides, just the mere thought of attempting to cook something feels like torture. Those are the nights I make breakfast. Even when there’s not much in the fridge on the day before grocery day I know that I almost always have eggs, milk, and flour.

I usually top these with a little bit of maple syrup and whatever kind fruit I have on hand. That could be something as simple as applesauce, bananas, or frozen blueberries. To thaw the berries quick, I put them in a bowel of hot water.

A few notes about this recipe:
The butter-milk or milk and vinegar combo is essential for the light, yet crumbly, texture as well as the melt in your mouth flavour. For this reason, I urge you to give it a try! I usually go the milk and vinegar route, so for this reason, I mix it first and set it aside while I mix the remaining ingredients.

One-Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni

This is the healthy version of hamburger helper. Because kids LOVE Hamburger Helper from a box. But now I have to be all healthy and so on, so I make it from scratch. And you know what? It’s still as simple as the one from the box, but it tastes SO MUCH BETTER.

To make it a complete meal, I usually serve raw veggies on a big platter. (The sharing from a big dish seems to make it more fun to eat.) Now, I’ll add whatever I have at the time, which could be: cucumber slices, broccoli, carrot sticks, or some other raw veggies that the kids will eat.

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Ingredients:
Large sauce pan
2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Lb ground beef
1 diced onion
1-2 minced cloves of garlic
1tbs cornstarch
2tsp Italian herb mix
1tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 1/4 cups egg noodles
Salt and pepper
Side of raw veggies

In 2-3 tbs olive oil, brown the ground beef on medium heat

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Add the chopped onion and minced garlic

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When the beef is cooked, add the cornstarch and stir

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Add the Italian herbs, paprika, and cumin and stir

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Add the crushed tomatoes

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Add the water

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And the milk

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Add the cheese

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And the noodles

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Simmer, uncovered, until the noodles are cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally so that the noodles don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. The sauce will thicken as the noodles cook. Salt and pepper to taste.

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