Well, since my last hack article, I STILL don’t have time to deal with all the things life throws at me. So, I’ve continued to cut corners with a few more hacks and tips that seem a bit unconventional but have made this mommy’s life much easier. And, since I know you don’t have time for much else as well, and we’re always just looking for the list, not the life story before the list, here you go:
Sprinkles make everything taste better!
Did you know that sprinkles do more than just make the bowl of ice cream or sugar cookie look pretty? Sprinkles actually carry magical powers, and by magical powers, I mean they trick your toddler into eating (almost) anything. In order to get my kids to eat grits or oatmeal or shepherd’s pie even, I just let them choose any magical color of sprinkles to shower on top of the meal, and they eat it up! It’s quirky, for sure, but it gets the job done, and my kids think I’ve added a special rainbow treat on top of their meal.
Baby wipes aren’t just for babies’ bottoms.
Now, baby wipes are something we definitely order in bulk and have a decent amount in stock at all times. But, I’ve come to realize that they’re not just for wiping the baby’s bottom. Baby wipes can also help with those stubborn stains on your microfiber furniture. Using a wipe on a spill right away, I find, prevents the stain and water ring. They can also help with your child’s sudden artistic inspiration for the abstract crayon or marker drawing on furniture ;).
Don’t throw away the kids’ meal cups!
I have plenty of little hands in my house. There are only so many Mardi Gras cups I can go through before they crack, get lost, or get stained for life by paint. I also don’t have a ton of space in my cabinets for large plastic cups. Because I don’t want my kids using the glassware just yet, and I hate buying sippy cups in bulk multiple times a year, I’ve started to take a more practical approach and utilize the cheap and easy plastic kids cups from certain fast food places. My kids love Canes; it’s our special “reward” dinner when I feel like banking some extra cool mom points. With each visit, we save the to-go cups and lids and re-use them until we drive through again. These cups are the perfect size for the tiny hands (and tiny cabinets), and both the cup and the lid will last a good month or so in the dishwasher. The to-go cup comes with the kid’s meal anyway, so I get my kid-friendly kitchenware practically for free.
Buh-Bye bad smell!
Nothing makes me cringe more than a child throwing up or having an accident IN a car seat. Aside from taking those clunky things apart and hosing them down before putting them back together again, the smell that is left in my car is unbearable. No amount of cleaner seems to get rid of it. And, the time and energy I put into making that smell dissipate never seems to truly work and takes days of airing out. Not anymore! If I’m looking to rid of a really bad smell from my car, all I need is a dab of vanilla extract on a few cotton balls. I spread them out around my car (underneath seats), and I leave them in there overnight. By the next day’s mad rush to school, the smell is gone! You’re welcome!
Dinner is served…..for breakfast.
We always have leftovers in this house, and more times than not, we throw away a lot of leftovers because the kids either won’t eat them or we just made too much. To combat this problem, I’ve incorporated the leftover veggies into our breakfasts – sometimes sneakily I might add. A great way to do this is by simply throwing them into an egg scramble. Mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, and onions all make great add-ins for an omelet, scramble, or even in a muffin tin filled with eggs ready to bake.
*Bonus tip* – Who says meat and vegetables should only be eaten at dinner time? My pediatrician recommended we feed my youngest son dinner leftovers for breakfast because he wasn’t eating much in the morning before school but would devour meats at dinner such as chicken or roast. We finally were able to start his days off on a full stomach which helped him have a better day all-around.
The Hand-me-down Cheat Sheet
Kids #2-5 will forever get the hand-me-downs, but when something has the durability to last that long, sometimes I can’t remember who it currently belongs to especially if tags were ripped out or worn off. I use a system that lets me know which item belongs to which kid no matter how many times it gets passed down. On the tags of clothes belonging to my oldest (or at least the ones I know will get passed down), I put a small single dot with a sharpie (make sure to use something that won’t get washed out in the washing machine). Once that item of clothing is passed down to child #2, I add a second dot. When child #3 inherits the items, I add a third dot and so on. This way, when I’m folding laundry, I have an efficient cheat sheet to get the right clothes into the right child’s room.
An impromptu bath will save your sanity.
Straight up, nothing calms a tantrum-throwing toddler quite like a bath does. It’s amazing what just a small bit of water and some bath toys will do. When my little ones are being a bit overdramatic and crying hysterically over nothing, all I need to do is turn the bathwater on and let them get in. I don’t even bathe them. I just let them play in the bathtub with toys as I watch their toddler struggles melt away. This can happen at any time of the day. Utilize your bathtub. It’s not just for cleaning – it can definitely be a great resource to not only occupy the little ones but to also calm them down if need be.
*Bonus tip* – For itty bitty little ones, baths are great for calming purposes but can take much more time and effort since they can’t be left alone to play. However, a sure-fire tactic that has ALWAYS calmed ALL of my fussy babies down was to simply walk outside with them. As soon as that sun and fresh air hit their face, they stopped. The transformation was always instant for mine. Just walk outside to catch some vitamin D, and the crying baby becomes a peaceful little snuggle bunny.