Author Archives: The Jewish Lady

15 Tips for a Cleaner and Calmer Home

Kids, pets, toys, dirty floors, stacks of dishes, mountains of laundry—family life can seem like one big mess! Sometimes I get so exhausted, so distracted and so overwhelmed, all I can do is pray (and cry). The truth is that having a family is a mixed blessing; there are good days, bad days, and really bad days. By controlling the chaos and sticking to a reasonable plan, we can make a tough job a bit less challenging.

Here are 15 tips for a cleaner and calmer home:

1. Adequate Trash Cans – Meaning one in every single room of the house.

2. Adequate Hampers – Have one for dirty laundry in every bedroom and bathroom. If multiple children share a room, provide their own hampers.

3. Designated Space – “A place for everything and everything in its place” is the best advice. No more wasted time searching. 

4. Declutter – Be merciless in this area and avoid hanging on to duplicates, sentimental items and “just in case” stuff. Some folks even cling to broken toys and ripped clothes out of fear! If you haven’t used it in a year, the odds are good you will never miss it. (Obviously, there are a few exceptions like seasonal items needed for holidays.)

5. Don’t Buy More – How many of us have multiple shoes, purses and identical black sweaters, yet we crave another one? Try to use what you already have.

6. Quick Clean in Blocks – Sometimes the thought of cleaning an entire house, from top to bottom, is so overwhelming, we feel paralyzed. Set a timer for 15 minutes and tackle one project like cleaning out a draw, a shelf, etc. If you wait for the “perfect” time, chances are that the time will never come! Once the kids are down for the night, spend a half hour tidying up without interruptions.

7. Don’t hide it – Pushing stuff under the bed, cramming it into a closet, or packing more junk into a garage isn’t cleaning, it’s delaying.

8. Separate Toys – I have a strict policy about toys: outside toys must stay outside and inside toys must stay inside. No bikes in the living room, no stuffed animals in the yard. Try to remove toys from the common areas (living room, kitchen, dining room) overnight.

9. Storage Bins – These are a lifesaver, especially for moms with multiple children. Kids can be very territorial. By giving everyone their own storage bin, it keeps fighting to a minimum. Label by name for older kids and by color before they can read. I have found that having many small bins, rather than 1 big one, actually works better.

10. Everyone Pitches In – Since the whole family lives in the home, it is everyone’s responsibility to help keep it clean. Teach children from an early age to clean up their own mess. Husbands may also need constant reminders. Be patient and praise often, rather than just criticize. 

11. Assign Chores – This should be done fairly, with age and ability kept in mind. Chores aren’t meant to be a punishment, it’s about teaching responsibility. Teaching takes time and effort, but it’s an investment that will pay off when your teen does the laundry and cooks dinner. 

12. Public Rooms vs. Private Rooms – I can tolerate more mess in bedrooms than I can in the living room, especially if we’re having company over. Very few people will look at the laundry room, but everyone will need the bathroom. Prioritize!

13. Extreme Husbands – The majority of men tend to be complete slobs or excessively neat. (Mine is definitely the former.) It’s impossible to change someone. Constant encouragement, however, can work—somewhat. Not a day goes by when I’m not saying “Pick up your socks” or “Take the trash out.” That’s just life and I’ve accepted him. 

14. Daily vs. Sporadically – Most of us have limited time, limited energy, and limited interest in cleaning. Focus your effort on needs rather than wants. We all need fresh laundry and washed dishes. Polishing silver and waxing floors? Not so much. 

15. Be Realistic – Each of us is in a different season of life. Each of us is facing a different challenge. Moms with newborns and toddlers will have a much harder time than Empty Nesters. Don’t hold yourself to an impossible standard. Ask for help and if you can afford it, hire someone. There is no shame in that! 

 

How do you keep your home—and family—clean and organized?

Swedish Christian Zionist’s “Solidarity Sail” to Israel

On August 24, Stefan Abrahamsson and 40 activists will depart from Gothenberg, Sweden for an incredible journey to Herzliya, Israel. The “Solidarity Sail” as its been nicknamed, was influenced by their strong support for Israel, Jews and Mid-East Christians

A similar effort to reach Israel by sea was recently attempted by pro-Hamas Swedes who were headed for Gaza (and up to no good, of course!). Thankfully, they were deported before anything terrible could occur, but it portrayed Sweden in a very negative light. The “Solidarity Sail” will combat that in a most wonderful way.

I am so excited to hear about the sail and support their efforts. I love my friends in the Christian Zionist community. They truly care about Israel and want to help. Also, I’m glad that they’re bringing attention to the persecution of Christians in the Mid-East. As someone who believes in religious expression and religious freedom, the rights of Christians to freely worship needs to be addressed and protected, always. 

With Israel under rocket attack right this minute from terrorists, we need all the support we can get from around the world. Good people who care about Israel’s future need to speak up and if they’re able, visit in person. Nothing combats hate like love and the outpouring of love from the Swedish group is a Godsend. 

Jewish Couple Married for 84 YEARS Break England’s Record

A couple who were married for 84 years hold the record for England’s longest marriage. Maurice and Helen Kaye, who started their life together in 1934, survived numerous obstacles: World War, the death of 2 children, and limited opportunities and rampant discrimination against Jews.

No matter what obstacle they encountered, they never gave up, choosing to focus on family and community, always guided by faith. They were very active in the Bournemouth Chabad, frequently attending events, and never missing a Shabbat. In honor of their 75th wedding anniversary, they donated a Torah (commemorated in the picture above, taken in 2009). 

At the exceptionally advanced age of 106, Mr. Kaye recently passed away, leaving a huge hole in the hearts of all who knew him. His incredible life should serve as an example to the rest of us!

Personally, I can’t imagine that amount of time. To put it into perspective, my own Grandparents were married in 1939. When my Grandfather passed away in 1977, they had celebrated 38 years. My Grandmother lived until 1999 and was a very devoted widow. 

None of us know how many years on earth we have and each day should be considered a gift since there’s no guarantee. Rabbi Yosef Alperowitz summed it up best: “People can learn from Maurice Kaye’s example…you could be in your 70s, 80s, 90s, and even 100s, and you can still be involved.”

So often we let age hold us back, but it shouldn’t. Every person, no matter how young or old, can contribute to the Jewish community. We all have an important part to play, whether it’s teaching, listening, lending a hand, or giving a hug. Everyone deserves to be counted. 

As for marriage, I doubt their record will ever be broken. Many unions today don’t even last for one year, let alone 8 decades. The older generations knew a lot more about relationships than we do. They didn’t treat marriage like it was disposable. Vows made were not meant to be broken. I truly admire this couple, on so many levels, and hope that in my own life, I can follow in their honored footsteps. 

Savory Japanese-Style Breakfast

I’ve never met an empty carb that I didn’t like—donuts, bagels, muffins, waffles, etc. The taste may be wonderful, but I know it’s not good for my weight or my health, especially when I start my day with those trigger foods.

Sweets really do me in, so I prefer a savory option. Yes, it can seem weird eating “dinner” foods for breakfast and it does require an adjustment. Once you get into the groove, however, it’s actually nice.

This morning, I had a Japanese-style meal. I didn’t use a specific recipe for this tasty concoction, but it was inspired by Panera’s Broth Bowls, minus the noodles. 

Basically, I tossed in random ingredients like veggie broth, mushrooms, scallions, spinach, leftover meat, and boiled eggs. It was filling without being heavy and I enjoyed the salt (from soy sauce and teriyaki sauce). Soup also takes a while to eat, which gives your stomach a chance to feel satisfied without gorging. 

Definitely worth trying for anyone that needs a better breakfast, although I must admit it’s not kid-friendly. (Mine eat cereal 99% of the time!) Adventurous adults should enjoy it.