Olive Us: Kitchen Cleanup

September 19, 2012

Who has dinner clean up duties at your house? When I was growing up, each sister or brother was assigned a night of dish duties. Mine was Thursday nights and I remember frantically trying to finish up so I could watch The Cosby Show with my family. (Someone was always sure to help me so I didn’t get left out.)

Since we moved here, our dinner time has been pushed back and we’ve found we’re all pretty worn out by the time we finish up with our meal. To get through that final leg of the day, and tidy up the kitchen, we turn on something loud (the older kids will pick a playlist from one of their iPods) and we’ll have a clean up dance party.

It usually only takes a few songs and keeps everyone in a happy mood as we head in to our bedtime routines. And as an extra bonus, it keeps me and Ben Blair up on what our kids are listening to these days.

When Tiger in a Jar was here last April, they filmed one of the cleanup parties. It was a one-shot deal! And we loved how they edited it together. We don’t count this as a full Olive Us episode, but we thought you might enjoy a little behind-the-scenes peek at our family life.

P.S. — You may notice a 7th child. That’s my wonderful niece Roxcy who was staying with us at the time.

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{ 3 trackbacks }

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sabrina September 19, 2012 at 9:20 am

Soooo cute! I think I am going to steal your idea of cleaning up dinner with a dance party. I bet your kids will always have that as a wonderful memory from growing up.


2 Heather September 19, 2012 at 9:21 am

Aww. This made me happy. It also made me wish for a bigger family (we have just two)–all the different combinations of friendships, interactions, help, etc! Love it.


3 Christy@SweetandSavoring September 19, 2012 at 9:25 am

Such a sweet video- probably the kind of thing the kids’ll appreciate much more when they’re older :)

We took turns growing up- one of us had to set the table for dinner, and two had to clear the table/clean up the kitchen. Setting up was always the preferred task!


4 Danielle September 19, 2012 at 9:27 am

so fun and sweet! :)


5 Ann September 19, 2012 at 9:27 am

Like I needed another reason to love your family!! Such a great idea!


6 Tan September 19, 2012 at 9:30 am

lol thank you for the giggle this morning! That was just simply adorable.


7 Bam September 19, 2012 at 9:30 am

So very cute! Do you know what song that is? It was so perfect for the video.


8 jo September 19, 2012 at 9:37 am

the song is “rock your little baby to sleep” by buddy knox. it’s cute, huh? :)


9 Ivy September 19, 2012 at 9:32 am

Great idea! We always had dish nights growing up, which probably makes sense as kids get older because they have their own plans and reasons for picking certain nights. But once our boys get older this could be a really fun tradition.


10 Gina @ Oaxacaborn September 19, 2012 at 9:41 am

My 20-month-old immediately starting “singing” when I played this :) Love it!


11 ris September 19, 2012 at 9:45 am

Gabrielle you make having a big family look like so much fun! I love this video.


12 Azra September 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

How adorable! I love Oscar’s breakdance moves, if I am not mistaken. Playing music during clean up time is such a fantastic idea. That is usually a worst time of a day for me. I may try that tonight, maybe it will motivate the rest of the household.
My youngest one loved watching this video. :)


13 Design Mom September 20, 2012 at 8:16 am

You’re not mistaken, Azra. Oscar is all about the breakdance moves.


14 KelliK September 19, 2012 at 11:33 am

What a way to teach your kids to dance and let go. As a trained dancer, it took me a long time to enjoy the improv. Much, much better than being stuck at the sink by yourself! Although I adored sharing dish night with my oldest brother. I must have been 5 and he was 16. Always better to learn to help each other.


15 Caitlin September 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Love this! Do you and Ben Blair always sit next to each other at the dinner table? I’ve always seen adults at opposite ends of the table, but I like the idea of sitting next to my husband way better. :)


16 Design Mom September 20, 2012 at 8:17 am

As often as we can! Sometimes June insists on sitting between us. But mostly we sit together. It’s nice, and it feels like we’re a team.


17 Karen F September 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

this was so cute. Gabrielle, you’re younger than me, but will you and Ben adopt me please?

I would love if you did a post about meal planning, cooking, etc for your large family. I have a hard enough time planning/cooking for my husband and 2 kids (I work full time), so I can’t imagine how you plan out your meals, accounting for differing tastes, being economical, etc!


18 Design Mom September 20, 2012 at 8:18 am

Oh man. Cooking and meal planning is definitely a weak point for me. I daydream about winning the lottery and hiring a full-time cook!


19 Raquel September 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

What a lovely idea for a family tradition. Makes me wish we had not stopped at one child.


20 josali September 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

What a lovely video. You made my day!


21 Karin Webb September 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm

So cute Gabby! And I love Ben Blair sporting an apron. That rocks!


22 Bonnie September 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

It may not be an official episode of Olive Us, but it’s certainly my favorite.


23 Lisa September 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Okay, now this video almost made me cry. Of course cry of happiness, of inspiration and of understanding one of the secrets of your big family being great : You make everything fun, even chores. You rule guys !!


24 Ela September 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Love it! and yes, I also want a bigger family! I need to apply this to my home a.s.a.p.!


25 kristi September 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm

totally cute!


26 Mills September 20, 2012 at 4:28 am

Adorable! I love it. It makes cleaning up seem like so much fun.


27 kris September 20, 2012 at 6:47 am

Our family LOVES all the videos and the kids ask to watch them over and over. We watched this one last night, and the kids were asking if you do this every night, and how each person get their tasks to help in the clean up.


28 Design Mom September 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

We don’t do it every night, more like 4 times a week. Sometimes we eat out. Other times we’re too worn out for a dance party and we let the dishes wait till the morning.

As for who does what, we don’t have any official assignments, just a general instruction to keep working until everything is done.


29 Anna September 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I’m so glad you clarified that sometimes you are too worn out and leave it to the morning! I feel much more normal now!


30 Shannon { A Mom's Year } September 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

Clean-up dance parties are the best! Some people have commented that they wish they had more kids, but I remember dancing with my mom when I was a teenager. It was just my brother and me, but we had a blast!


31 Design Mom September 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

I’m so glad for your comment, Shannon! I totally agree. Even if it’s just me and one of the kids working in the kitchen, it’s way more fun with good music.


32 Rebecca Snyder September 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

Love this post! My big mormon family always did dance parties cleaning up and now we continue to dance together cleaning the kitchen when we meet up as adults. As one of the youngest, it was great to get private dance lessons from my older siblings who have great moves. When I went to stake dances I felt pretty cool to pull out the dance moves my siblings had taught me at home! Our new tradition is to make our own music videos when we get together on Christmas Eve.

Thanks for sharing!


33 Leslie D September 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I just love this! It makes me miss being a kid living with my parents. We used to have dance parties each night and my brother and I would dance our hearts out. Glad to see the tradition went beyond our own kitchen! You are awesome and are making so many special memories your children will cherish! :)


34 Megan M. September 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I can’t see the videos. :( Even if I pull up the Olive Us page. What do you use to host your videos? I need to figure out why it isn’t working for me, because I have to see this cleanup party!


35 Amanda September 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Okay, so you totally need to include this as one of your episodes! Of all the clips I’ve seen of your kids, this one is by far my favorite. It really demonstrates how the mundane (and potentially contentious) can be turned into a potential moment of joy . . . Something I definitely need to apply to my own brood.

I relate beyond what I can express about the difficulty of making late dinner to cleanup to bedtime work without dragging everyone down, and this helps me look at it differently.


36 Miranda September 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm

haha, all of your cute kids (and you two) have some great moves. But that Oscar can get down!


37 Andrea September 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Cute! I love to dance around the kitchen with my kids, but we’ve never done it as a way to get the dishes done. Great idea. I just might be trying it soon:).

By the way, I loved Oscar’s sweet moves down on the floor. Ha, ha. So fun.


38 Lindsay - Shop Ella Lou September 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Our daughter is two and I have been trying to think of ways to get her more involved in household tasks. She is clearly interested but I have been at a loss – I think we may just have to try clean up parties! At a minimum, she can put silverware in the dishwasher and dance. Too cute!

P.s. I adore the way your family interacts!


39 Robyn D. September 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Love it Gabby!!! Good times!! We loved being a part of your clean up crew while we were there. :)


40 Alice September 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

That’s a wonderful kitchen, Gabrielle. I could not think of a better family room than that!


41 Eliina @ 3EDesign October 8, 2012 at 9:54 am

This is absolutely charming! One of my favorite parts of being a parent is starting brand-new family traditions. I think we’ll be stealing this idea when our 15 month old is a little older.


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