Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shortcuts

As I was taking out the garbage today, I remember thanking my Mom in my head for teaching me to put a couple of extra garbage bags at the bottom of the bin. It's a fantastic shortcut! Then I started thinking, I bet there are tons of fantastic shortcuts that I could seriously take advantage of. So, that's where you come in! Leave a comment and include your shortcut. If it's a good one, I'll add it to the master list I've started below. They can be related to having kids or not related to having kids so everyone can share!
  • Garbage bags in the bottom of the garbage can. I put about five extra bags at the bottom of the garbage can as well as our diaper pail. That way when I take out the full bag, I can easily put a new one in without having to go search one out.
  • Layer sheets and mattress pads in the crib. Put a mattress pad, a sheet, another mattress pad, and another sheet. This saves changing the sheets in the middle of the night, just strip off the top set. We do this with the crib and the bed for our kids. (Make sure you add a waterproof mattress pad.)
  • On Friday nights we buy a frozen cheese pizza and then use up all the leftovers veggies and meats from the week as toppings. You get to clean out the fridge and have a great easy meal!
  • I used to stash extra diapers and wipes everywhere (my car, my big purse, diaper bag, upstairs and downstairs of our old townhouse). I used to keep a stack of diapers in the living room, tucked away in a corner, and change Jack right there on the floor to eliminate unnecessary trips upstairs, to changing tables, etc, etc
  • Always have a packed diaper bag in the car for all children that need one.
  • We keep an old large popcorn tin, lined with plastic Target bags next to our kitty litter box. Every other day or so, we clean out the cat "stuff" and put it into the bag-lined tin. The tin top is very tight, so it keeps the room smelling good as long as we clean the box often. It also gives us more incentive to clean it more often...it's easy.
  • I use crock pot liners for crock pot meals. Cannot say enough about those things. Love them!
  • A cup full of hot water with lemon juice in the microwave for three minutes. Makes cleaning the microwave a breeze...basically steams off the sticky goop.
  • When leaving for a trip with kiddos, dress them in the clothes they are going to wear the night before (after they have eaten and bathed) this way you can put them in the van right after they have breakfast.
  • Line the bottom of your oven with foil, covers better than the drip pans they make. Saves having to clean the oven so often or use your self-clean so often (which shortens the life of your stove).
  • Take care of seemingly trivial things immediately, as in, when they first occur to you. An example: when you have read a library book, put it in your car to remind yourself to return it to the library. Also others' lost items: toys that have either been left at your house or your child may have taken need to go in your car when they are found. Then they are there for your next trip to that friend's house.
  • Since my daughter and all my children before her used a bottle, we would fill a large canister (used for hot coffee or tea) with warm water. This way we always had water we knew was safe and would be warm for bottles. Came in super handy when on the road or out all day.
  • Travel with one thermos with hot water and one with cold water.
  • We also have one portable booster seat that attaches to the table itself in each vehicle for restaurants or visiting other homes.
  • Multiple areas of diapers/wipes in the house makes life so much easier through the day and night.
  • Traveling with a dog I have multiple plastic bags and a jug of water as well as dog food in plastic zip lock bags. Those long trips it really helps. We bought a long time ago a travel pack container that has a food bowl and water bowl all in one container that snaps together. Made my life a lot easier especially when it was just me, a toddler and dog traveling together long distances.
  • I make juice cups in the morning (diluted juice with water) and keep them in the fridge. Then during the day all I have to do is pull one out of the fridge for my three year old and don't have to juggle the baby while diluting juice or just take the time in general. We are always ready to go!
  • To solve the problem of needing rags in the kitchen for both wiping little faces as well as wiping dirty counters and then always getting them mixed up, I bought two sets, one that is plain white for the counters and another that is striped for the faces. No more rag mix-ups!
  • I buy window wipes, dusting wipes, stainless wipes, Clorox wipes - a quick trip around the house before company comes & they think you spent hours cleans when in actuality, it took about ten minutes. Don't forget to use the window wipes on your shiny plumbing fixtures - germ clean or not, they will shine like you spent much more time on them! These are great for quick "make it look like I cleaned" times.
  • I always double or triple recipes that can be frozen. Eat your meal and put the rest in the freezer for a quick cooking night. You can freeze a lot more if you use zip lock freezer bags and remove the air, lay them flat in the freezer. Don't forget to date them. Glad also makes some great freezer to oven containers. By doing this, you are always prepared for that emergency when you need to take a dish to a friend.
  • Buy chicken breasts (I get the large quantity from Sam's). Throw 3-4 in a large zip lock, add some sherry, soy, worcheshire, garlic, & Italian spices to it; get the air out, zip it, freeze it. While it defrosts, it will self-marinade. It's a quick answer to another fast meal from the oven/bbq/George Foreman.
  • When cooking ground beef, I always do three packages at once, even if I only need one immediately. Cook them all, then put into Freezer Bags or Containers and store in the freezer - that way, you have meat cooked already for lasagna, soups and other things that don't NEED freshly cooked beef! Do the same thing when cooking chicken, then cut the chicken into pieces so it's ready to use.

18 comments:

Drew and Emily said...

Layer sheets and mattress pads in the crib. Put a mattress pad, a sheet, another mattress pad, and another sheet. This saves changing the sheets in the middle of the night, just strip off the top set. We do this with the crib and the bed for our kids.

Anonymous said...

On friday nights we buy a frozen cheese pizza and then use up all the leftovers veggies and meats from the week as toppings. You get to clean out the fridge and have a great easy meal!

Samantha

Carrie said...

Drew and Emily took my suggestion, though I must add make sure that you use a waterproof mattress pad, otherwise any accidents will just get all the layers wet.

We also do this on our bed so that when it comes time to wash sheets, there's already a clean set on underneath, which eliminates getting ready to go to bed and finding out you forgot to put the sheets in the drier...

Susie said...

You may already do this, but I used to stash extra diapers and wipes everywhere (my car, my big purse, diaper bag, upstairs and downstairs of our old townhouse). I used to keep a stack of diapers in the living room, tucked away in a corner, and change Jack right there on the floor to eliminate unnecessary trips upstairs, to changing tables, etc, etc

Anonymous said...

Always have a packed diaper bag in the car for all children that need one.

Monkey Momma said...

I also do the extra trash bags in the bottom of the bin.

We keep an old large popcorn tin, lined with plastic Target bags next to our kitty litter box. Every other day or so, we clean out the cat "stuff" and put it into the bag-lined tin. The tin top is very tight, so it keeps the room smelling good as long as we clean the box often. It also gives us more incentive to clean it more often...it's easy.

I use crockpot liners for crockpot meals. Cannot say enough about those things. Love them!

Oh...another one...a cup full of hot water with lemon juice in the microwave for three minutes. Makes cleaning the microwave a breeze...basically steams off the sticky goop.

Kiley said...

Good Post! Lets see, when leaving for a trip with kiddos, dress them in the clothes they are going to wear the night before (after they have eaten and bathed) this way you can put them in the van right after they have breakfast!

*Always pack diaper bag the night before

Those are the two I can think of now. I will have to think more about this one. I am sure I have more to add!!

Kiley

Judy Woodford said...

Line the bottom of your oven with foil, covers better than the drip pans they make. Saves having to clean the oven so often or use your self-clean so often (which shortens the life of your stove). You likely already knew this.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this considered a shortcut, but it is helpful: take care of seemingly trivial things immediately, as in, when they first occur to you. An example: when you have read a library book, put it in your car to remind yourself to return it to the library. Also others' lost items: toys that have either been left at your house or your child may have taken need to go in your car when they are found. Then they are there for your next trip to that friend's house.
Laura from HP

Kiley said...

Since my daughter and all my children before her used a bottle, we would fill a large canister (used for hot coffee or tea) with warm water. This way we always had water we knew was safe and would be warm for bottles. Came in super handy when on the road or out all day.

Kiley Rodrigues
www.kileyandjason.blogspot.com

The Mac's House said...

Travel with one thermos with hot water and one with cold water. use for diluting juice for those that can't tolerate it as much as others and for powdered formula or cereal.

We also have one portable booster seat that attaches to the table itself in each vehicle for restaurants or visiting other homes.

I agree a diaper bag always packed for each vehicle and multiple areas of diapers/wipes in the house makes life so much easier thru the day and night. I zip lock baggie toys, treats and we will be adding crayons/coloring books as soon as they are needed.

Traveling with a dog I have multiple plastic bags and a jug of water as well as dog food in plastic zip lock bags. Those long trips it really helps. We bought a long time ago a travel pack container that has a food bowl and water bowl all in one container that snaps together. Made my life a lot easier especially when it was just me, a toddler and dog traveling together long distances.

Anonymous said...

I make juice cups in the morning (diluted juice with water) and keep them in the fridge. Then during the day all I have to do is pull one out of the fridge for my three year old and don't have to juggle the baby while diluting juice or just take the time in general. We are always ready to go!

Joy Z said...

To solve the problem of needing rags in the kitchen for both wiping little faces as well as wiping dirty counters and then always getting them mixed up, I bought two sets, one that is plain white for the counters and another that is striped for the faces. No more rag mix-ups!

Tara said...

Love the thought of using leftovers for pizza!
-the leftover queen

Anonymous said...

I buy window wipes, dusting wipes, stainless wipes, Clorox wipes - a quick trip around the house before company comes & they think you spent hours cleans when in actuality, it took about 10 mins. Don't forget to use the window wipes on your shiny plumbing fixtures - germ clean or not, they will shine like you spent much more time on them! These are great for quick "make it look like I cleaned" times.

I always double or triple recipes that can be frozen. Eat your meal & put the rest in the freezer for a quick cooking night. You can freeze a lot more if you use zip lock freezer bags & remove the air, lay them flat in the freezer. Don't forget to date them. Glad also makes some great freezer to oven containers. By doing this, you are always prepared for that emergency when you need to take a dish to a friend.

While you are at it, buy chicken breasts (I get the large quantity from Sam's). Throw 3-4 in a large zip lock, add some sherry, soy, worcheshire, garlic, & italian spices to it; get the air out, zip it, freeze it. While it defrosts, it will self-marinade. It's a quick answer to another fast meal from the oven/bbq/George Foreman.

These are my favorite time savers! Hope they are helpful to you! Smiling Angel

grriffins said...

When cooking ground beef, I always do 3 packages at once, even if I only need one immediately. Cook them all, then put into Freezer Bags or Containers and store in the freezer - that way, you have meat cooked already for lasagna, soups and other things that don't NEED freshly cooked beef!
Do the same thing when cooking chicken, then cut the chicken into pieces so it's ready to use.

Also, when making casseroles, etc, make 2 at the same time and freeze the other one. It saves half the time and you always have something in the freezer for when you're in a rush!

Bethany said...

When making pancakes, waffles, or french toast I use a pizza cutter to cut it up. It's a lot less messy and it's faster.

If I'm making the above meal for the daycare kids I use my pizza cutter to cut up each pancake when it comes right out of the pan (while new pancakes are cooking) and throw it into a large mixing bowl. Once all the pancakes are made, cut up and place in the bowl I'll add the syrup. Give it a good toss to coat all the pancakes. Then when it's time to eat I can just spoon the cut up pancake onto each plate instead of taking the time to individually cut them for each child. If I have a large amount I need to make then I stick them in the oven to keep them warm.

Wendy said...

I'm so seriously late on this but here goes.

When I'm doing laundry I do one 'regular' load first and the second load is delicates or line-dry only items. The dryer always takes twice as long as the washer and this way I get the first two loads done in the same time frame as a single load.