Monday, 22 April 2013

6 quick tips/ideas to make life easier

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I think Spring is here. Kind of. Minus the ice storm that we had the other week. But the days when the warm weather has crept in have made life beautiful once again. Winter is hard to survive at home some days with little ones.

But do you know what you can do with winter-logged {is that even a word??} children? Put them outside in the sunshine! Works every time.



Even with the rain that we've had recently, it's still been fun to play outside. Give a kid an umbrella and tell them to find some puddles and it turns into endless fun in the rain.


She would have stayed out there in the pouring rain for hours if I let her.


So with rain, sunshine and my little tulips starting to sprout in our garden, I decided that spring cleaning was definitely in order.

We haven't always done a full blown spring clean each year, but since having kids it feels utterly necessary. I look around our house and I have visions of taking half of what's in it to Goodwill. It's amazing how much your house explodes when you have little children--there are days when I feel like I just can't keep up with it. I clean something up, and five seconds later it's messy again. I clean up the dishes from breakfast, and snack dishes an hour later clutter up my sink again.

I read a quote once that said "Cleaning with children in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos".

Amen.

But I'll still keep trying.

So I started off our spring cleaning this year with the dreaded blinds. Honestly, I don't have time to clean blinds these days. So since I needed a quick way to thoroughly wash them (other than the terrible wiping of each and every slat), I found a quick way online to get it done--and I thought I'd pass it along in case anyone else wanted to tackle their own.

It then got me thinking, I've found a lot of other ideas/tricks online or through other people that have made my life easier or just made me think "How did I not already know this?".

So I thought I'd share them here with you. I don't take credit for any of these ideas, as they've all come from either people in my life or ideas that I've found online. But I definitely take advantage of them all. All of the time.

So here you go. A few tips/tricks to make life just a wee bit easier...

1) Give your blinds a bath.


Seriously.

Instead of cleaning each and every slat, fill up your tub with a bit of water (you can even add some vinegar if you want) and let them soak for a few minutes and watch the dust just fall right off of them. If your blinds are like mine and get washed...um...never..then you might have to wipe a few of the slats down with a rag. But it's so much easier since the dirt/dust washes right off and they'll come out sparkling clean.

Pull them out and let them sunbath outside for a bit to dry, then put them back up.


So easy!

2) Freeze your fresh veggies. 


Terry and I have saved SO much money and time doing this. We buy certain veggies in bulk from the market (like our 10lb bag of onions for only $2.50 the other week) and spend one day cutting them all up with our beloved chopper (if you don't have one of these things, you need to buy one!).


Once they're all cut up, we bag them, label them (the number of onions in each bag) and throw them in the freezer.


 We now have enough onions in our freezer to last us for months AND meal prep is already done. You can't do this with all veggies (like cucumbers, etc), but we now always have a constant supply of onions and peppers all cut up, ready to be thrown into the slowcooker, or omelets, pasta sauce or any other meal that we're making. It feels like a lot of work having to cut so much up all at once, but it's completely worth it since   it saves us so much money and makes meal prep a breeze. 

3) To all of the parents with little ones out there: SHAKE YOUR RICE CEREAL.


We found out from a neighbour of ours who works for Healthy Babies Healthy Children that they have discovered that the iron in the rice cereal will all fall to the bottom of the box. So while you think you may be providing a good source of iron to your little one with each feed, all of the iron is actually stuck at the bottom. So your baby could be getting an overload of iron with the last few bowls that you feed him/her, which isn't good for their little systems. So before you pour it, give it a quick shake to avoid this.
Who knew?? 

4) Want boiled eggs? Cook them instead!


Put them in your oven in a muffin tin at 350 for 20-25mins and they'll come out perfectly cooked. My mom does this all of the time, and I've only just recently tried it. I now usually do a dozen at a time and then we have a bunch of eggs in our fridge to pull out and snack on throughout the day. So easy!! 

5) Use Lanolin cream (yes..nipple cream!..all nursing mom's probably know this brand) to clear up dry skin and minor rashes.


Especially in the winter time if you have a kid who licks their upper lip a lot, leaving that red rash..this works perfectly and won't sting at all like moisturizers. When Carter was in the NICU he developed a little red rash around his mouth when a damp soother was put in his mouth after being rinsed off, and when I asked the nurse what I could use to get rid of it, she said Lanolin cream. We have a constant supply in our house now for minor skin irritations, really dry skin and certain rashes on the kids. Thank you NICU nurses!   

6) Water down your dish soap.


My parents have been doing this for years and consequently we've followed suit. Dish soap is so incredibly concentrated, so we always fill our glass containers a few inches full of dish soap and fill up the rest with water. Give it a quick shake, and you're good to go. Sometimes for really really greasy pans you might need to use more soap, but in general you can save on dish soap and save money over time by just adding some water. Our dish soap now lasts forever in this house.

Alright, that's about it for now. Off to bed I go.

Let me know if you have any other quick and easy tips to share--I'm always looking for new ones!  

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