Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hey! I Want My Hour Back!

Normally I disregard most e-mails I receive from Baby Center. It's not a bad resource, especially if you're a first-time mom. I remember eagerly checking out what my baby looked like at 8 weeks (a shrimp), then 20 weeks (an alien), etc. I loved lurking on the Girls' Names message board because so many of the ladies there shared my taste, and there was always the occasional laugh at someone who was floating something outrageous by for review. But as I became more confident in my parenting ability, I stopped looking up when to introduce what foods and just went with what worked.

Landing in my in-box this week, though: How to Get an Hour Back Everyday. Yes! Sign me up! What would I do with that hour? Read a book? Indulge in a home-made spa remedy? Paint my nails? Eh, more likely waste it on Facebook or feeling guilty for not channeling it into work.

So here's what I find particularly helpful:
  • Make sandwiches for the week on Sunday and take them out each morning (or the night before).
  • Keep a freezer inventory taped to your refrigerator door, with all of the items currently living in your freezer. Check them off as you use them. I might have to try this as I think we still have a bag of scallops that expired last year lurking in the back, out of sight.
And helpful ... at first glance:
  • Keep a clothes box handy for outgrown clothes. I actually do this, as I downgrade from Bug's closet to Pie's. The problem is that I'm too lazy to take it up to the attic so it has a permanent place on the floor in Bug's room. And it often collects laundry that I fail to put away. So if you have easily accessible storage space and the willpower to stick the tub there, go for it.
  • Keep a "to-do" bag that you take with you. This seemed like a brilliant idea until I tried to think of what to put in a to-do bag. Everything is done electronically these days, so wouldn't this just be your iPhone or a laptop?
Thanks, but I think I'll skip:
  • Bagging up my kids' clothes by outfit to make clothing selections easy in the morning
  • Assigning each kid a color so that all of their belongings are easily identifiable
  • Just not putting away the laundry at all
Yeah, no kidding:
  • Take a nap
  • Make your spouse pull his weight
  • Get up early
Here's my contribution:

I create a weekly menu on Sundays, and sync it with a weekly calendar. Both of these are magnetized and hang on the refrigerator door. When I go to the grocery store on Sunday or Monday, I make sure I have all the ingredients for the meals. Don't be too impressed, though. If I didn't do this, I'd forget to take my kids to school and we'd never have anything to eat. And we still sometimes chuck it all for kids' night at Chick Fil A.

Finally, love your crock pot/slow cooker. There's always enough for a second meal. And sometimes, if dinner isn't on by 9 am, it's not getting made.

Any other ideas out there? I could use a few extra minutes to dry my hair in the morning...


  1. Those are great ideas! I love my slow-cooker. Every time I use it I am reminded of its amazing-ness.

    Lately I have tried to do more compartmentalizing of my activities (instead of multi-tasking). I focus on one activity for a certain period of time (I'm going to balance the checkbook/pay bills for the next 30 minutes...and nothing else). If it's not done, I either stick it out or move on and return later. I've decided that multi-tasking actually makes me more distracted and less productive.

  2. Like the blog :) We do the weekly menu planning as well and it really does make a difference in time and food waste. We also have a grocery list on our fridge that lists all the pantry/refrigerator/freezer items that we usually keep in stock. As things run out we check them off. I add my ingredients for the weekly menu each Sunday, grab the list, and go to the grocery store.