Sometimes I lie in bed in the morning and calmly think “It might not seem like it now, but we’re already late.” And within twenty minutes, I’m throwing shoes and socks at kids while I bark orders like “Did you brush your teeth? Come breathe on me so I can check.” But not this year, friends. This year this mom is embracing all the sanity savers and parenting hacks to protect my precious sanity and shave a few minutes off our hectic day. Back to school is serious stuff. Just ask these two.
Here’s a few parenting hacks to make the school year start a little smoother.
Easily cook a dozen eggs for breakfast sandwiches by baking eggs in a muffin tin. Using a lightly greased muffin tin, crack one egg into each cup and bake for 15 minutes on 350 degrees. Build your sandwich with English muffins, cheese and ham. Freeze the sandwiches and wrap in foil for later or heat and enjoy.
Cut down on breakfast mess by mixing pancake mix for the week and putting it into several freezer bags and store in the fridge. Be sure to leave room for the batter to expand. When ready to make, cut a bottom corner of the freezer bag and squeeze the mix into a hot pan.
Have a breakfast smoothie any morning by chopping up and freezing all the ingredients for a smoothie in a individual sandwich bags. When you’re ready, grab a bag and throw the ingredients into a blender and enjoy!
Serve yummy oats and not cook a thing! Mix equal parts milk, yogurt and rolled oats with a banana and some cinnamon. Place in the fridge overnight and in the morning, add fruit or nuts and serve.
Never run out of ice packs for lunch boxes again! Grab kitchen sponges from the dollar store, soak in water, place in sandwich bag, and freeze for effective and cheap ice packs.
Never worry food in a thermos isn’t still hot at lunchtime. Fill the thermos or can with almost boiling water and put the lid on. Let it sit while you pack lunches or serve breakfast. Heat the food hotter than you would normally serve it. Dump out the hot water and add the food. Now you have hot food stored in a warm thermos. Perfect for a hot lunch!
Use that thermos for food other than soup. Heat chicken nuggets in the microwave and store in a hot thermos. They will be warm and yummy when your kids are ready for lunch. Just don’t forget the ketchup.
Keep apples from turning brown by using a knife or apple corer/slicer to cut around the core. Put the apple back together and wrap a rubberband around the apple. The apple will still be fresh at lunch.
Choose outfits for the entire week and store each outfit in a section of a hanging sweater organizer. Be sure to include socks, underwear, and hair accessories to make the morning even easier. Write out the days of the week and post on each section for extra site word practice!
Loop a soda can tab on a hanger and attach another hanger to the other side of the tab to create a double hanger. For after-school activities, hang all uniforms pieces and practice clothes on these hangers to save closet space and stay organized.
Cut an over the door shoe organizer to fit inside a door of a bathroom cabinet. Give each child a row on the organizer to store all their hair brushes, hair products, hair accessories, tooth brushes,tooth paste, or anything else they use to get ready in the morning.
Affix a magnetic strip to the inside of the cupboard door and attach bobby pins and hair bows to the strip to save space and help with organization.
Never lose a hair elastic again by using a caribbeaner clips to store hair elastics and ribbons.
At the Door Hacks
A decorative silverware organizer is perfect to leave by the door so each family member can always grab what they need before heading out the door: phone, keys, ID tags, headphones, wallet, and even a stain remover stick
Change the locked picture on your phone to a written note with your kid’s schedules, pickup times, and drop-off times for a quick reference at the beginning of the year.
Use command hooks or decorative towel hooks inside a closet or on a wall to create a backpack nook. This gives kids the perfect place to hang their backpacks
Create a “last minute” station using milk crates near the door. Using shoeboxes or plastic containers, store socks, hair accessories, change, and quick grab snacks like applesauce pouches or granola bars for those last minute needs.
Create a portable homework station for each kid by filling binders or shower caddy with with everything they need to complete homework: pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, and paper. This is great for younger siblings that want “homework” too.
If you don’t have a desk for homework time, use an inexpensive shoe rack to create shelf space on a table
Create a “Mom Command Center” in your kitchen so everything you need to stay organized is in one place: start with a large dry erase board or chalk board paint to create a calendar, folders for all school forms going in and out, places to store kid’s art work, a place to menu plan, and a docking station for your phones, tablets and computers.
Cover all your bases by setting the bookmark on your phone or tablet to all those important sites you’ll visit every day like the school website, Today Show for news and Wake Up with Al for weather.
So here’s to a new school year, never missing the bus, and not having to ask your kids to brush their teeth five times!