I want to share five things that have helped me get our lives a bit more organized and a little less frazzled around here. These are things that I find that I bring up again and again whenever we’re hanging out with friends and we’re talking about our kids. Most of these items have been found on Amazon and you can click on either the picture or the underlined word to take you directly to the links provided for easy access.
- The Storage Cube. This has replaced our coffee table and makes it SO easy to hide the mess quickly. They are sturdy and have certainly stood up to being rolled around and played with by a 5-year-old. We have these in gray, the fabric cleans easily and still looks nice after 7 months. It can also be used as additional seating, even for adults.
2. The Timer. We were at a friend’s house a few months ago and the kids noticed this large timer on the table. Our friend explained that their daughter had a tendency to drag out dinner and often they would end up sitting for over an hour, waiting for her to finish. Once they incorporated the timer dinner was now a more reasonable 25-30 minutes and they had time for other family activities after dinner. This gave me an idea, not for dinnertime, but for cleanup time. And so we introduced the Time Timer to our kids. Now, we use it not only for clean up time, but to monitor screen time and for taking turns with a favorite toy. The kids now will set the timer themselves and the red visual cue which shrinks as time counts down, can be seen from across the room.
3. The Chore Chart. Our day gets so hectic sometimes that I will forget to make sure the kids have done their tasks before we leave for school and work. So I made these charts and used self-adhesive laminating sheets to cover them. You can then use either a china marker or a dry-erase marker to check off each job and wipe off the sheet at the end of the day with a cloth. SO EASY! You can download my chore chart by clicking on the link below.
4. Command Utility Hooks. I wish I invented these!!! I use them all over the house – to hang pictures, hats, even pots in the kitchen. I hung the 5 lbs. ones by the door so the kids could hang their coats up as soon as they came in. They hold two rain coats or one winter coat. And now the kids can grab their own coats as we head out the door. One more step towards their self-reliance, one less thing for mom to do, whoo hoo!
5. The Rice Cooker. As we are a blended family of several different cultures trying to teach our kids healthy eating habits, we eat rice and fish at least four nights a week. This Zojirushi Rice Cooker makes it so easy to prepare dinner, it switches from cooking to keeping the rice warm automatically and cooks rice perfectly every time (even brown rice!). And it has a steamer that you place on top to steam vegetables. I recommend not adding the veggies until it clicks to the “Warm” setting and then let them steam for a few minutes, otherwise the veggies end up soggy.
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