Friday, November 11, 2011

Let me help you make life easier

Sometimes being a mom to young kids is exhausting. I love talking with other moms and swapping ideas and time saving tricks that make the simple things we do every day a little easier or more fun. So here are a few things that I've done or used recently and thought I'd share...

Not always super fun. The kids splash and wrestle and more water ends up out of the tub than stays in. But the worst is when soap irritates Ellie's sensitive skin. I finally found a bubble bath that doesn't give her eczema a reason to get angry, and it smells like watermelon (or bubble gum, or a combination of both?). Highly recommend if your little ones have sensitive skin, or you just want them to smell edible after bath time.

Not as fun as it once was. Things don't fit the same after birthing 3 babies, even if I've technically gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight and size. (Anyone with me? I know 2 lovely ladies who are, since we were just discussing this last week!) Plus I just don't have a lot of time to get ready in the morning - if I want more, I have to sacrifice sleep (no thank you). So I'm all for things that are easy to put on but also have a little style and go with just about everything. And that fit regardless of what shape I am! These flats have gotten a lot of use - they are the perfect no-brainer shoes, and I basically wear them with my skinny jeans every day.

I could spend hours cleaning every day - crayon marks off the walls, scuffs on the baseboards and doors, stains on the countertop. But I don't. When I do actually take the time to clean, I am loyal to my magic eraser. I'm a little scared by how much it can remove.

This one is a little random, but I have been looking for a silver jingle bell ornament ever since Robbie fell in love with The Polar Express movie 2 years ago, and for some reason could not find one. I finally did, unexpectedly, this morning in our church's bookstore! "Believe" is engraved on the side. It was $2.99, and I am so happy to have found it.

You need the Chipotle App. I could go on and on, but it will only result in divulging information that is embarrassing - like how often I use this and therefore eat Chipotle (too much), or how the Wheaton location knows me by name now and recognizes my order when it comes through and I no longer have to call and ask them to put the mild salsa on last, they just KNOW.

We are big fans of organic apples, and they are a great mid-morning snack. My kids still choke on the peel, so I have to peel and slice every apple they eat (or just peel it and let them eat it whole). Several friends have watched me use a potato peeler to take the skin off, as opposed to a knife, and thought it was a great idea. I sort of thought this was how everyone peeled apples, but in case you don't do it this way, let me just say put down the knife! Hold the peeler the way you would hold a paring knife when peeling an apple - don't use quick strokes away from your body like you do when peeling potatoes with a peeler, use a controlled motion towards your body, using your peeling-hand-thumb to steady the apple as you go. Make sense? Fact: I bring apples and my peeler with us to the park as an easily transportable, healthy snack. I'm a nerd like that, carrying around kitchen utensils in my purse. Speaking of, I also bring our pizza cutter with us when we go out for pizza. So. much. easier. than trying to cut pizza quickly for 2 hungry kids with a dull knife and fork.

Ok, some nights I just don't have it in me to cook but I want a hot meal.
Enter the hot beef sandwich.
Forget using the slow cooker to cook the beef, creating au jus, etc. I use the best Angus Beef our deli counter has to offer, and ask them to slice me 3/4 lb thin, the way we like it. Grab some sub rolls, provolone cheese, a yellow onion, garlic salt and butter. To make the sandwiches, slice the rolls in half, butter the insides and sprinkle with garlic salt. Broil until golden brown. Pile one side of the roll with as much beef as you want, and the other with provolone cheese, and slide back under the broiler until cheese is melted. On the stovetop, melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a skillet and add about 1/2 of the yellow onion (sliced into rings that are 1/2 inch thick and then slice the rings in half, making a C-shape), and cook on med-high heat (stir!) until onions start to brown and are softened. Pull the sandwiches out of the oven, scoop the onions onto the beef, and close the sandwiches. Slice in half and serve with pickles, chips, oven fries, baked beans, a side salad, whatever! This is a great, quick, satisfying dinner.

If I think of more, I'll share. Leave your best tips and tricks in the comments if you have any! I'd love to know what you do to make things easier / quicker / more fun.


Lindsey said...

Thanks for sharing! Love your tips and will have to run out and get Elmo's bubble bath! Where did you find those shoes?

The Larsons said...

I, too, will have to check out that bubble bath. I was just tell C last night that Ellie has "red scratchies" on her body, too. :)

Ashley said...

The flats are from Gap!

Jennifer said...

thanks for the tips, ash! ray does the potato peeler for apples, too. and to reverse things -- he uses the apple slicer to cut potatoes -- works perfectly for making fries. oh, and, i have to say, i love that you carry your pizza cutter in your purse. classic! i wholeheartedly agree with you -- best, fastest way to cut up a slice of pizza! :)