Desperate Housekeeping for busy mums and dads

From one mother to another

Archive for the category “Housekeeping”

New blog! Hope to see you there!

Hi all!
As some of you know, I recently launched a new blog: Expat Mum in Luxembourg.

At the begining, I thought it would make sense to maintain both blogs, with separate themes, but quickly I figured it out that my themes are always around Family Life and Kids.

So, I decided that the new blog will be my new online ‘home’, with new and fresh ideas. As for the Desperate Housekeeping for Busy Mums and Dads, I’ll start to gradually migrate the best contents into the new blog as well.

Hope to ‘see’ you at the ‘Expat Mum in Luxembourg‘ blog and, please, don’t forget to “Follow It”.



Saving Strategies 101 – Getting Started

Today I’m starting a new series of posts regarding Saving Strategies at Home. Personally, I believe that even when you think you’re saving in everything, you can always find something more with a little imagination! So, let’s use our imagination! 😉

I’ll divide these series of posts into simple lessons we could easily introduce gradually into our day-to-day life. So, grab your pencil and start taking your notes. At the end, I’m gonna ask for your contribution as well! 😉


The first lesson will be on ‘Decluttering‘. Keep tuned!! 😉

Carpet Stink – How to get rid of it

20130103-001303.jpgSometimes, more often than we’d like, small accidents happen with all sort of liquids falling on the carpet. It can be a fallen glass of water or juice or even milk. It’s not allways easy to clean it, specially if you cannot clean it and allow it to dry outside.

Recently I had to deal with it too, when a glass of chocolat milk fall on my living room carpet. I used some paper towels to absorb most of the liquid but just one day after it started to smell a lot. It was freezing outside, so washing it and opening the windows wasn’t a solution. So I had to apply an old but really simple technique: using baking soda!

Let me explain how does it work:
– Spread a lot of baking soda all over the ‘affected’ area of the carpet.
– Let it sit over night.
– By the morning, vacuum the area thoroughly.

And say good-bye to the smell! 🙂

Tip: For an extra care, you could mix some drops of your favourite essential oil into the baking soda before spreading it on th carpet.

Oil Cloth – One of mom’s best friend

Are you constantly trying to get rid of those horrible stains on your dinning table linens? Are you always worried about new spots whenever your guests spoil wine or tomato sauce over the table? Are your kids always painting over your table, even if you’ve put a new cloth on top of it?

I recently found my new best friend for this matter: oil clothes. Nowadays you can easily find very nice patterns and it can be on the table all day long. Once it is dirty, you just have to simple clean it with a moist cloth, or use a cleaning product if necessary.

Some shops sell oil clothes at a very high price. I’ve found that it is cheaper to buy it from DIY stores and sew a sheath all over the cloth, if you have a sewing machine.

Sewing Machine – Bring it to your home!


Is it sewing machine an old fashion item? I’m here today to prove to you that you should bring it to your home if you think so.

When it comes to creative new ideas to save money around the household theme, I’ve found one particular item where we use to spend a lot, several times a year: small sewings.

It could be just a sheath or a minor rip in your favourite cloth, but it isn’t cheap to fix. Additionaly, if you have kids, this spend would be significantly higher, should you decide to fix it or to substitute with a new pice of cloth.

So, I found that buying a basic sewing machine (I have a ‘Singer Serenade’) and reading some books and DIY articles on the web is basically all you need to mastering small [arranjos de costura] and save money on something rather simple.

What about you? Sharing the same idea?

Super Quick Housecleaning Tips

Did you ever had unexpected guests or last-minute visits at home? I’m sure you did, everyone does! But worse, did it happen just in that day when your house seems a complete mess?

Well, if you cannot follow the Keep-It-Simple Method all the time, there’s no miracles! 😉 But there are some tips you can use to face this challenge of getting your house prep in just a few minutes.

Step 1: Design your action plan
– Select the rooms where your visitors will enter. I assume that the living room, the kitchen and the main bathroom are always included;
– Get a quick analysis of the mess within each room;
– Set the timer. If the visits arrive within 1 hour, set the timer to 45 minutes max. The remaining time will allow you to check everything one last time;
– Light some very discrete candle scent;

Step 2: Declutter each of the selected rooms
– Pick up any dirty clothes, lost shoes, bags, dirty dishes, trash, lost papers…
– Keep all the clutter in its right place, unless you don’t have enough time. In this case, just gather all the things and keep it in a separate room;

Step 3: Clean the critical spots
– Mop and/or wipe the floor;
– Wash your dishes or put it into the dishwasher;
– Clean the kitchen counter and stove;
– Clean the bathroom and change towels;
– If you have any pets, clean the litter boxes;
– Turn off the candle scent.

Household Saving Tips – Kitchen – Part I

Today, I’m going to talk a bit about some of the saving tips I try to apply in my daily routine. Not only by sustainability thoughts, or the overall financial crisis. I do really think: if we can do things in a way we save, why not??


Make your own garlic butter. Instead of buying ready-to-use garlic butter, you can easily make your own at home. You will need: 2 tbsp butter (room temperature), 4 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin, if possible), 1/2 garlic clove (chopped) and a pinch of salt. Mix it all together and put it into a small container of your choice. Allow it to get harden in the freezer (at least 10 minutes) then keep it in the fridge until you need it.

Reuse bread leftovers. If you have some pieces of bread you won’t use anymore, or it is simply dried, you can use it to make some breadcrumbs.

Reuse cheese. If you have small pieces of cheese which somehow end up in your fridge, you can chill it a bit, then grate it to use later.

Reuse fresh meat bonnes and/or fresh veggies leftovers. You can use the bonnes of fresh meat to make some tasty homemade cubes to use in your dishes. The same applies to fresh veggies leftovers. Just fill a pan with hot water, the bonnes/veggies leftovers, some aromatics, onions and garlic. Then let it cook for at least 1 hour. Then, you just need to strain it, and it’s ready to use.

Reuse water from washing vegetables/fruits. Everytime you wash your veggies/fruits you end up throwing out a lot of water through the sink. Instead of doing it, you can simply wash it using a large bowl full of water and use this water later for other purposes, like watering your plants or cleaning the floor. In this case, you just have to check if the water is free from little waste particles.

Avoid smell from your garbage bags. Once you through away leftovers, your garbage will end up stink quickly, even if it is almost empty. If you cannot simply throught it right away, you can simply use some smaller plastic bags to keep those smelly leftovers, close it tightly and then put it into your trash bin.

Extend your dishwasher product lifetime. You can add some vinegar and water to your dishwasher bottle and even then have incredible good results as vinegar is great taking grease out of dishes. Please check this post to apply the right measures.

Extend the durability of your laundry machine. The rubber entrance of your laundry machine is very sensitive. More, if you don’t take some prevent measures, it can be responsible for water leakages and ultimately other damages inside you home. Everytime you use it, you should dry the rubber with an old piece of cloth and let the door open for at least one or two hours to allow it to dry completely. If the rubber have some dirty, you can use vinegar directly on it and then wash it with hot water.

What about you? Please share your saving tips too!

Great Cleaning Saving Tips


Recently, I found that some old-fashioned based cleaning tips are quite amazing and great saving tips.

List of ‘ingredients’ you’ll need to clean your house:
Essential Cleaning Items
-Laundry Detergent
-Baking Soda

Tips for an effective and cheaper dishwasher:
-Only use the dishwasher machine when you have enough dishes to fill it. Otherwise, it’s less expensive if you wash it manually.
-Take a cheap dishwasher bottle. Take out 1/3 of the product and keep it in a separate empty bottle (for exemple, an empty water bottle). Add a little vinegar to the initial dishwasher bottle and fill it with water.
-Now you have a very effective dishwasher, once the vinegar is quite amazing dealing with grease, and you save 1/3 of the dishwasher liquid for the all-purpose cleaning (check the next tip).
-Every time you finish your meals, please slightly rinse the dishes. It will avoid dried dirt.

Tips for an effective and cheaper all-purpose cleaning:
-In an empty spray bottler or vaporizer (you can buy a new one or reuse an empty one) add half water and half vinegar.
-You should prepare 2 separate vaporizers with this moisture: one labeled with ‘Kitchen Cleaning’ and the other with ‘All-Purpose Cleaning (bathroom/ windows/ mirrors/ furniture)’.

Tips for an effective and cheaper bathroom cleaning:
-Clean all the bathroom with the ‘All-Purpose Cleaning’ moisture (except the floor). Note that for the mirrors cleaning you should use a dry microfiber cloth.
-To clean the toilet, you should throw in it about 2 cups of bleach, let it rest about 10 minutes and then flesh the toilet.
-If the toilet is too dirty, you can also apply about 2 cups of vinegar, then add 2 cups of baking soda. Let it ‘boil’ for just a few minutes, then scrub with the bathroom brush and flush the toilet. You toilet will be like a new one!
-If you’ve found yellow spots between your bathroom tiles (usually it’s rust), you can apply a small amount of baking soda and scrub it with an old and moistened toothbrush. Let it rest for some minutes and then wash it with water. Otherwise, if you’ve found dark spots between the tiles (mold), you should scrub it with vinegar and and the old toothbrush.

Tips for an effective and cheaper window cleaning:
-For the interior side of the windows, you should simply use a dry microfiber cloth and the ‘All-Purpose Cleaning’ moisture.

-For the exterior side of the windows, you should first wash it using a microfiber cloth soaked in a moisture of hot water and a pinch of dishwasher. Then, you can finish the cleaning with a dry microfiber cloth and the ‘All-Purpose Cleaning’ moisture.

Tips for an effective and cheaper wooden floor cleaning:
-Using a moisture of very hot water, about 2 tbsp of laundry detergent and 2 tbsp of vinegar, mop all the floor.
-Note that using hot water not only helps to dry faster, but it will also clean better.

Tips for an effective and cheaper mosaic or tile floor cleaning:
-Using a moisture of very hot water, about 2 tbsp of dishwasher and 2 tbsp of vinegar, mop all the floor.
-Note that using hot water not only helps to dry faster, but it will also clean better.
-To finish with a brilliant result, you can use a swiffer mop. Note that you can also substitute the swiffer with a cheaper option: use a dry microfiber cloth and mop the floor with it and a little ‘All-Purpose Cleaning’ moisture.

Tips for an effective and cheaper furniture cleaning:
-Clean all furniture surfaces/interiors with the ‘All-Purpose Cleaning’ moisture and a microfiber cloth. Note that for mirrored furniture you should use a dry microfiber cloth.

Additional Notes:
-Almost nobody enjoy the smell of vinegar, but no worries, it’ll disappear just in minutes and you’ll have a cleaned and brilliant home.

Comfy Food Ready-To-Go

Busy mums and dads are always looking for finding just some extra minutes each day of their already so busy day. Aren’t you the same?

One of the most important part of your life is to eat. You should always eat well and have healthy cooking habits. Not only because of your health but for all of your family’s well being, specially when you have kids.

So, in this post lets talk about some great recipe ideas to cook really good but simple and easy comfort food.

Specially now, I’m worried about the next big and happy phase of my life: my little girl (and second child) is going to meet this world in just a few weeks! 🙂 So, I’m preparing some comfy food in bigger quantities, and I’ll be freezing it in separate bowls. I’m using some tupperware bowls, as well as some aluminium boxes.

Until now, I’ve found the following yummy easy-to-cook and good-to-freeze recipes:
Fish Rice
Cod and Tomato Rice
Cod with Chickpeas
Cod with Potatoes, Eggs and Crispy Bread Crumbs
Aromatic Chicken Rice
Chicken Beer Spaguetti
Meat Pie
(I’ll write the detailed recipes separatelly)

Note that all of my mediterranean influence is in each recipe. Hope you’ll like it as much as I do!

What about you? Have other easy and comfy recipe ideas to share?

Essential Cleaning items

So, are you ready to simplify your cleaning routines? Once you’ve read the Keep-It-Simple Method, you can gradually start to apply it into your daily life.

Now it’s time to simplify the items you really need to have always on hand. I recommend you t

  • A pair of resistent rubber gloves
  • A microfiber cloth (for multi-purpose cleaning)
  • A leather cloth (to clean windows)
  • An old teeth brush (to help cleaning those hidden corners or difficult small places around the house)
  • A dishwasher brush (for multi-purpose cleaning)
  • A spray bottler or vaporizer (for your cleaning product) – I’ll soon write about the most fantastic and proven saving tips around cleaning solutions in a new topic – ‘Great Cleaning Saving Tips’ (old-fashioned based)Image

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