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The Job Jar

16 Jan

In this very busy world we live in it is very difficult to do 2 very important things …

ONE … keep the house clean … it is a large project that either NEVER gets done because it is just too daunting … or people do it all for 14 hours on ONE day and because it takes so much energy it doesn’t get done again for a long time OR it falls on just one person … either Mom or Dad and that is not fair …

… AND TWO … keeping the family together as one unit for some good family time …

Here is a good way to keep the house clean AND have some team family time as well … The Job Jar!!

This is a way to keep the house clean by doing some of the housework in bite sized pieces 4 or 5 days a week and keeping the family together in a fun way … (YES … it can be FUN!!)

First … you will need to find 2 somewhat LARGE and specific Jars to be your JOB JARS… we found these at Wal-Mart a few weeks ago during the Christmas clearance sale for only $0.74 each:

snowman jar

You need to somehow label the jars to keep the rooms separated – the rooms that you need to clean from the rooms that were recently cleaned. You can print out labels, or hand write them, and attach them to your jars:

Job Jar Labels

Then … you will need to list all the areas of your house and write them on small papers like “names in the hat”… since we are just a family of three, most rooms in our house are listed separately on pieces of paper.  The only rooms that are combined are “Laundry Room/Half Bath” since these rooms are each too small to house 3 people for any length of time… Larger families may want to have more room combinations so the family can split up appropriately.

areas for job jar

… Kitchen … Kids Bedroom … First Floor Bathroom … Master Bedroom … Closet … Family Room … Basement … Study … Garage … etc.

Print these out and cut them up into individual pieces of paper:


Put all these in your FIRST JOB JAR …


The plan … each night someone in the family pulls out one of the papers … i.e. Family Room … then the WHOLE FAMILY gets together to Clean THAT area of the house … THE CATCH IS … for just 20 MINUTES … (so NO MORE ROLLING OF EYES like in the past when the “when are we going to be done” comments start flying) … any family can be together on a project for 20 minutes a day for 4 – 5 days a week … BUT the cleaning MUST end at 20 minutes … put on a TIMER if you have to but must keep to that timing … then that paper goes into JOB JAR # 2 … the next day we pull again … i.e. Kitchen … and so on …


This way it is a manageable time to blast through an area for a bit … doesn’t have to be perfect because in about 2 weeks that area will be hit again when it is pulled from the OTHER Jar … and SO ON and SO FORTH

Once JOB JAR # 1 is empty … the house is in pretty good shape AND we then move onto JOB JAR # 2 … by the end of JOB JAR # 2 … the house is clean … the Family has had some good and goofy stories (it is amazing how spending 20 minutes a day together this way can solidify the Family) … then we rotate from JAR #1 to JAR # 2 …

Do a LITTLE EACH DAY and over time … The house stays in good shape AND the FAMILY Stays in GOOD SHAPE!!


This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.


‘Tis the Season… for Christmas returns!!!

26 Dec

Just a day or two ago, there were piles of presents that lay beautifully under the Christmas tree – full of the promise of happy times.  After the dust settles on the Christmas holiday, your eye naturally turns to the new piles of “stuff” that seems to have exploded in your house.  Here are some survival guide tips on how to sort through the piles and restore your home to some normalcy.


Step 1:  Separate the gift from the wrapping supplies….

Half of the volume of stuff in your house is the packaging that the presents were delivered in.  You can easily weed down the piles by simply removing the gifts from the gift boxes and tissue paper that seem to take over the house on Christmas day.


If you tend to save the gift boxes like I do (not every store offers gift boxes anymore), I immediately fold the boxes down flat and put them in a single neat pile.  Tissue paper gets thrown away – or if it’s not too wrinkled – it can be folded neatly to make tissue paper poms (refer to this link for a tutorial on how to make these fun decorations


Step 2:  Make sure everything fits properly….

If you haven’t done so already, have everyone in your family try on the clothes that they received for Christmas.  If the item fits, put it away in a drawer or closet right away.  If it doesn’t fit, or they just don’t want it, put them in a pile to be returned/exchanged.

photo 1

Step 3:  Make a plan to handle the returns/exchanges….

If these items were purchased by someone in your home, pull out the receipts and put them with the items.  If they were purchased by someone outside your household, decide if it’s appropriate to ask for the receipt for the item so you can get the proper value that the gift giver paid for the item (and any sales tax they may have paid).  If you think the gift giver would be offended or upset by the thought of you returning the item, then you will probably need to just get a store credit for the current value of the item (less any state sales taxes paid).


Step 4:  Sort the items by store…

I put all of the items that need to be returned in one bag per store and pile them up in a busy spot in my kitchen.  Just the thought of tripping over these items each time I walk by helps give me the push to actually go out there and make the return/exchange.


Step 5:  Make a driving plan to return the items – and get out there and actually do it!

After the craziness of the holiday, I am not usually in the mood to spend a whole day going from store to store returning items.  I tend to group the stores by their location to each other and tackle one direction at a time.  Writing out a list helps me to organize my thoughts and remember all of the things I have to do.

If I am feeling really ambitious, I will put all the bags in my car in order to get the piles out of my house.  After all, if the items aren’t in your car, you can’t ever make the return – right?

HAPPY RETURNING from all of us at BaptismalGownsPlus!!!

This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

How to Clean With Vinegar

12 Sep

Let’s face it folks, vinegar can be used more than to just color Easter eggs or de-scale your Keurig machine (if you own one you know what I mean – or at least you should know about itto extend the life of your machine).  It’s so tempting to run out and buy all of these ‘specialty’ cleaners that are out there on the market for every little thing in your house – but in the end, you’ve spent a lot of money, have a lot of ‘toxic’ bottles in your cleaning arsenal – and your house is no cleaner than if you just used good old fashioned vinegar.

Here are some uses for vinegar that you may, or may not have, thought of….


Wash your floors – just add about a ½ cup of white vinegar per gallon of warm water and mop your floors.  The vinegar will cut through any grease and grime and is safe for most floors.

 clean floors


Clean your stainless steel shower heads #1 – To remove the mineral buildup that you can get on your shower heads (or kitchen faucet) you can put white vinegar in a plastic bag and ‘tie’ it on to your shower head for a few hours.  WORD OF CAUTION – In some articles I’ve read, folks have commented that the vinegar can almost ‘eat through’ the finish on showerheads that are actually coated plastic shower heads.  Also, I would be careful if you have a very delicate finish on your shower heads or a fancy ‘bronze’ finish.

 clean shower head


Clean your stainless steel shower heads #2 – If you don’t want to try method #1 above because you don’t want to ‘submerge’ your fixture in vinegar, you can take an old tooth brush, dip it in vinegar and ‘scrub’ the area that has the mineral build-up,.  This method will take more elbow grease because you will almost have to wait for the vinegar to break through the buildup, but maybe add this to your weekly cleaning routine so you stay ahead of the game.

 Clean faucet


Clean the microwave – Vinegar can soften any tough food particles AND remove any odors from your microwave.  All you need to do is get a little microwave safe bowl and put ½ white vinegar and ½ hot water in the bowl.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  When it’s done, all you need to do is wipe down the microwave with paper towels or a soft cloth.

 clean microwave


Clean your refrigerator – You can use a mixture of ½ water and ½ white vinegar to wipe down the shelves and walls of your refrigerator.  It’s non-abrasive to the finish and freshens up the fridge while removing any food residues.

 clean refrigerator


Clean the grout on your tile floor – Pour undiluted white vinegar on the group and let sit for a few minutes.  Scrub the grout clean by using an old toothbrush.  In researching this blog post, I decided to try this.  As you can see from the pictures, I am pretty embarrassed at how dirty the grout has become on my kitchen floor.  I’ve washed the floor with a mop using vinegar before, but pouring vinegar directly on the grout, letting it sit for only 5 minutes and then scrubbing with an old toothbrush resulted in a very embarrassing middle picture.  I have a LOT of work to do since I have a pretty big area of tile to cover since the same floor spans a very large part of the first floor of my home….

 clean grout


“Yucky” spray – When my son was small he thought it was funny to say “stupid”.  Since he wasn’t allowed to say it, it suddenly became his favorite thing to say…  My sister told me that when her boys were younger, she used ‘yucky’ spray to spray the bad words out of their mouth.  We had nothing to lose, so we decided to try it – and what do you know, IT WORKED!!!  When we first used it, my son was quite upset because he didn’t realize what was coming, but he was not hurt and it certainly got the message across.  The funny thing was, he was sitting on my lap a little while after we used it, and suddenly I started smelling a salad – then I realized, it was my son – he actually smelled like a salad.

 “Yucky” Spray Recipe:

  • Small spray bottle
  • White Vinegar
  • Water       

Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in spray bottle.  Put one spray in mouth of child that has some yucky words in their mouth to get rid of the words that shouldn’t be in their mouth.

I know, I know, Super Nanny would be horrified, but sometimes a parent has to do what a parent has to do… you need to decide if this is worth trying in your home.  The only problem was, he started liking the taste of the “yucky” spray… it was no longer as effective as it once was, but the word “stupid” was long gone from his vocabulary.

 yucky spray


Clean coffee maker – Over time, mineral deposits can build up and clog up your coffee maker.  Fill the water reservoir with white vinegar and run it through the coffee maker with a ‘brew cycle’.  Let the coffee maker sit for 4 hours.  Put clean water in the reservoir and run clean water through the brew cycle.  If you still sense a ‘vinegar’ scent, then run through the clean water cycle a few more times.  If you have a Keurig machine, be sure to follow the instructions in your users manual.



Boiling eggs without cracking – When you are making hard boiled eggs, you can reduce the risk of the shells cracking in the hot water by adding two tablespoons of white vinegar to the water. The eggs won’t crack, and the shells will peel off easier when you’re ready to eat them.


 boiling eggs

Can you share any other tips or tricks that you have used vinegar for?  Please share with us by commenting on this post.


Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of  Come visit us to see our complete line of Baptismal and First Communion clothing and accessories for both boys and girls.

Do You Know How to Clean Stuffed Animals?

1 Aug

Most folks know how to clean hard toys, but did you ever pause and wonder what’s the best way to clean stuffed animals (or other plush toys)?

confused look

Before I share some tips, I have a word of warning:

warning sign

Please consider the condition of the plush toy BEFORE you heed any advice I share here.  The tips I have picked up along the way has worked for my sons stuffed animals.  BUT

He didn’t inherit an heirloom teddy bear

heirloom teddy bear

Or one with pretty ribbons, lace  and pearls

teddy bear with ribbons

Or one that had a music box…

Get it?  A musical teddy bear!

Get it? A musical teddy bear!

I wouldn’t want anyone’s favorite stuffed toy to be ruined if it was exposed to a cleaning method that was too harsh for the toy.

Steps to cleaning and sanitizing your child’s plush toys that you have deemed safe:

Step 1:

Check the tags for cleaning instructions.  If they are available, follow them as appropriate.

cleaning instructions

Step 2:

Remove any stuck on food or dirt with a soft brush before beginning the cleaning process.

stuck on food

Step 3:

Put the toy(s) in the freezer for approximately 4 hours to kill any dust mites.

put in freezer

Step 4:

To wash toys in the washing machine, you need to be careful of the agitator on a top loading washer.  You will want to put the toy in a pillow cover with a zipper.  If you don’t have one, you can use a regular pillow case and tie it with a twist tie – or just tie the top of the case into a knot.  Wash the toys in warm water (not hot) in the gentle cycle using the laundry detergent that you wash your child’s clothes in (to try and minimize any allergy risks of using something too harsh for your baby’s skin).  I have a top loader machine at my house, but I heard that front loaders don’t have as much ‘pulling action’ on the toys so you can skip the part about putting the toys in a pillow case cover (or pillow case).

teddy in pillow case

washing machine

Step 5:

Move the pillow case to the dryer.  Depending on how ‘thick’ the toy is, you may need to run it through the dryer twice to be sure it is thoroughly dry.  Any residual dampness in the toy could lead to mold which is NOT what you want your child near…

clothes dryer

Make sure you wash your child’s plush toys as often as is reasonable… depending on their use, every other week should be ok.  If they are dragged around outside regularly, or put in the child’s mouth regularly, every week or more is recommended.

playing with teddy bear

Always wash plush toys regularly during contagious illnesses and again after the illness has left your home.  Clean toys help to keep kids healthy!

kids playing

Do you have any other tips or tricks to keep plush toys clean?  Please share them with us.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of which offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.