Extra Help on a Busy Day

As a busy Mom I have learned that time is the most valuable commodity you have, and there is little to be spared when you have a busy schedule. Whether you work, home school, stay at home, work from home, trying to help your kids with homework – whatever your path is, enough can never be said for using the tools of your home to make your day easier. Sometimes I think we forget about these and end up spending time doing something, which could be done by a machine and give us a few spare precious minutes to be using somewhere else.

Tool Number One:  Crock-pot

Never underestimate the use of a crock-pot. Lots of healthy dishes can be cooked in a crock-pot – it’s not your grandma’s beef stew anymore. This is something you can get up in the morning and in the time it takes to make coffee or tea – you can have dinner in and ready to go. For an extra hand, set out the plates, utensils and napkins next to it so when it’s time for dinner, all you do is dish it out. Just Google Healthy Crock-Pot Recipes and tons of options will show up:  http://busycooks.about.com/od/healthycrockpotrecipes/a/healthycrockpot.htm

Tool Number Two: Dishwasher

I bet everyone uses one, but did you think about the timing for using it? We load ours after dinner and then empty it in the morning. The reason is it allows loading throughout the day. Then I don’t go into the kitchen and feel overwhelmed by having to do dishes – or my house looks a mess with a stack of dishes. Also, have your littles load their dishes throughout the day (you can always adjust the placement later) or have them help unload – it allows them to feel helpful and it gives you a break.

Tool Number Three: Washer and Dryer

Yes don’t laugh, these are tools too. If you have as much laundry as I do, sometimes you forget you left a load in. Put loads in first thing in the morning and even right before you go to bed. Let the machine work while you sleep.  If you can, during the day make sure you have the time buzzer turned on both the washer and the dryer. Let your littles help unload the dryer and throw everything on the bed if they like – kids love this because the clothes are warm and it’s fun to make a big mess of clothes on the bed. Either way, ensure you keep your loads going throughout the day – fold at the end of the day and put everything away – this way you’re still getting the productivity of the machines and not having to stop every hour to fold.

Tool Number Four: Steam Mop

This has saved me a ton of time hauling around a bucket and mop. A steam mop can be purchased for about $50 at your local store. You can use it to scrub your floors during your normal cleaning, but it is also great at spot cleaning. If you don’t have a carpet steamer it also removes stains from carpet.

Tool Number Five: Bread maker

I strongly dislike looking in the cupboard and realizing I need to run to the store to get bread. Having invested in a bread maker is a great way to not only ensure I know what goes into my family’s food, but it keeps me from having to run yet another errand. Set it up to cook at night, so when you wake up you have fresh bread. Make a couple loaves ahead and freeze them. Make sure not to slice them before your freeze them as it breaks down the starch and doesn’t freeze well. Here are a few recipes:  http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Course/Bread-Recipes/Bread-Machine-Recipes

These tools are all different for each home, but the point is the same. Use the tools you have to make your daily life easier. Let your littles help out, it teaches them the value of your and their time – as well as the responsibilities of being a contributing family member. Then you have extra time to play with your kids, or hang with your partner – or just have a quiet moment to yourself.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”  ~Confucius

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