I still haven’t figured life out or how to make time for everything thrown my way. But, I’ve picked up a few more tips and tricks since my last hack article. Cutting corners is how this mommy makes it through parenthood appearing as if I have found the answer to it all. So, without further ado:
Amazon boxes for a rainy day
If you are anything like me, you’re on a first-name basis with the delivery driver. Not a week day goes by without some sort of package, large or small, delivered to my mailbox or doorstep. And, if your husband is anything like mine, he’s constantly complaining about the boxes building up that he always has to break down and throw out. To kill two birds with one stone, especially on a rainy day, I repurpose those boxes to occupy the kids. Because there are so many different sizes to work with, the kids are able to build a castle or a fort. We use tape to stack and create some sort of fortress, and then they go to town painting them. It keeps them busy, happy, and creative! And, bonus, it’s screen-free!
A bag of rice a day keeps the kids…seated
My second child is my busy-body. He is all boy. This means he runs, he plays hard, and he struggles staying seated, especially at the dinner table. He was constantly getting up from the table for senseless things. His energy just could not stay inside. This was especially difficult when he was a preschooler. The threats just didn’t compute. Dinner time turned into a real head-scratcher for us. It wasn’t until his parent-teacher conferences in pk-4 that we finally found an answer – rice. His teacher, Ms. Alison, gave us the brilliant idea of letting him feel the weight of something on his lap to learn to stay seated. Something so simple and easy could not work, I thought. But, that night, we tried it, and what do you know?! We even turned it into a game – whoever could keep the bag of rice on their lap without letting it fall or without touching it throughout dinner could get a prize. My son was sitting at the dinner table and focusing on all the weight on his lap and less on the meaningless trips out of his chair.
Sheet Pancakes for the large family breakfast win
The weekends are traditionally our big breakfast mornings. Mommy has the time to bake and cook, unlike that weekday morning rush when I’m throwing pop tarts in the backseat. When I have the time, my kids are always asking for pancakes. This sugary and syrupy breakfast treat is always their number 1 request, but 7 times out of 10 I just say no because making pancakes for a family of seven takes FOREVER! That’s a lot of pouring and flipping. On top of that, each child prefers a different type of pancake. Some like chocolate chips, some like bananas, some like blueberries, and some like it plain. It’s a lot of work. But, I’ve discovered a way for everyone to have their own personal favorite pancakes AND cut down on more than half the time it takes to prepare it all….sheet pancakes! Mixing the ingredients just as I would for any traditional pancake batter, I pour the entire mixture into a sheet pan. At that point, each child gets their own quadrant to “decorate” with any toppings they want. After toppings have been added, I stick the sheet pan in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, and voila! Breakfast for each individual family member is served!
Baby bibs behind the highchair
I can’t believe I didn’t figure this one out until baby number 4, but it just makes so much sense! There is no reason to keep bay bibs folded neatly in the top drawer of a dresser just taking up space. Instead, I hang them on the back of the baby’s high chair. I mean, that’s where she’ll be needing it anyway, right?! I have the bibs ready to go for every feeding, and now I’ve cleared up some much-needed space in a dresser drawer.
A minty fresh mask
This hack was discovered completely by accident, and I love it! It’s a sad reality when we have to wear masks everywhere; it’s even sadder that suffering from mask breath is an actual problem we have these days, but no more! When shuffling around my purse for a mask the other day, I saw I accidentally had it shoved into one of the side-pockets of my purse where I keep my gum. It was a mask I had used here and there before – wasn’t dirty but wasn’t necessarily the freshest. When I put it on, it smelled like minty fresh goodness! I didn’t mind wearing it to be honest. That’s when I had the idea to store my masks in that side pocket of my purse with my gum from now on. This can be done at home as well and with other yummy or fresh scents. Storing masks in a Ziploc bag with dryer sheets or mints is also a good way to go.
Decorating for the Dr
This hack was another one I just stumbled upon in desperate panic mode. How many times do you find yourself waiting for, what seems, a lifetime in a Doctor’s office? There are only so many parking lot spaces we can count outside of the window or clinic brochures about nutrition I can give my child to play with and “read”. But, what if we turned the waiting game into a decorating party? What if, instead, we decorate for the nurses and doctors using crayons and that enticing white sheet of paper draped across the patient table? Bringing along crayons to the Dr.’s office can turn that endless waiting time into a quick and creative use of time. I promise the wait will fly by. And, as the kids get older, hangman, tic tac toe, and word scrambles are great uses of the paper too!
What tricks of the trade do you have to share?!