A Simple Start Tips

We're asking you the question "What simplifies your life?" Share your tips and tricks on making life a little more simple. Tim and Pam will select 10 tips and the submitter will receive one of 10 great prizes! Share your tip here or view the others below.

Here are the tips we've received:

Soft Cookies

Category: Other

To keep cookies soft: put them in an airtight container with a slice of bread in it!

Shredding Chicken

Category: Meals

We eat a lot of chicken at our house, and a lot of recipes call for shredded chicken- from casseroles to Mexican dishes to chicken salad. I buy a bag of frozen chicken breasts, stick them in the crockpot with a little bit of water and 8 hours later you have chicken falling part and easy to shred. You can stick it in the fridge and use it for your recipes that week. I assumed everyone did this, but I have found that many people bake the chicken breasts or bake an entire chicken and debone it, etc. The crockpot way is the easy way!

Take a Chance, Make a Change

Category: Other

For years I mowed around a little decorative flag in the midddle of the yard, at one point I must have thought it was cute, but over the years (8) it was rather annoying. I had to mow around it and get the trimmers out and trim it, all taking time I could use for something fun. So after 8 years, I went out last summer and just pulled it up. Nobody noticed, the sky didn't fall and mowing was much easier. So if something is bothering you and you can change it, do it. If it doesn't work you can always go back to the old way. Take a chance, make a change you will be surprised at how something so simple can change your attitude.

Cutting Onions

Category: Meals

I HATE cutting onions and found a little trick to sometimes help keep the burning and watering of my eyes to a minimum. :-) I grip a match stick in my teeth when cutting the onion, now this method is not 100% but it works for me about 95% of the time.

Stained Tupperware

Category: Housekeeping

Tired of throwing out stained Tupperware from your dinner leftovers? My tip for you in 2013 is to simply coat the Tupperware that you are going to fill with tomato like acidic substances, or any other color leaving food with non-stick cooking spray. Don't have non-stick cooking spray you say? Placing soft butter on a paper towel and rubbing it all over your Tupperware container before placing your ingredients in it will work just the same. Using this simple step before you put your left over's away will guarantee easy clean-up, and no more wasted Tupperware containers! I use this simple technique when storing BBQ Hamburger, Chili Soup, Beef Stew, as well as Vegetable soup and Spaghetti! Enjoy making life a little more simple, and save some money while doing it! Enjoy

Vacation

Category: Parenting

When we go on vacations, I like to bring a bucket of candy, stickers, crayons, etc. that the kids get to pick 1 thing out of every hour or at major milestones ("Hey, we just entered Tennessee!"). Just don't get chocolates and leave them in your hot van (like we did 2 summers ago).

Leftovers

Category: Organization

To avoid ending up with spoiled leftovers sitting in your fridge, clip a piece of paper (or notepad) and pen to your fridge. Write down each leftover you place in the fridge and the date you made it. Cross off as you consume. This way, you will always know what is in your fridge and how long you have before it goes bad!

Children and Dishes

Category: Parenting

We taught our children how to do dishes at the age of 5. After I would complete a meal and before I sat down to eat I would run a sink of fresh soapy water. After everyone was finished they would be responsible for the dishes they used to eat with and one dish that I dirty while cooking the meal. My husband would put all the condiments away and clean the table. I would his dishes. This way I would not be stuck cleaning up the kitchen after a meal by myself. When they come home for a meal we still go through the same routine.

Dinner Menu Board

Category: Meals

I was tired of always having to answer the question, "Mom! What's for dinner?" I made a dinner menu board that hangs in my kitchen. I simply pick out what we're going to eat that week and attach the right dinner card to the day of the week. You can check out an example of it at my website, www.kristinakreations.etsy.com. It has helped keep me more organized as well as let all of the members of my family know what's for dinner for the week.

Once a Month Cooking

Category: Meals

I do once a month freezer cooking. I joined a website for once a month moms and I get the recipes, cards, labels and instructions. I was so tired of running to fast food places because we are too busy and this website has a gluten free menu. I just pull out the meals at the beginning of each week and whoever gets home first puts the food in the oven. My 9 yr old gets paid to help and he's learning a lot of cooking skills. They have meal plans for a variety of special diets, including gluten free.