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:

Snack Healthier

Category: Meals

Want to snack healthier, but find when you are hungry it's easier to just grab for a bag of chips? I have found that when I buy fruits or veggies, when putting them away, I take a minute to wash them and cut or divide into snack sized portions before refrigerating. This way when I want a snack, I can grab the bag of pre-washed grapes (no stems, no fuss) or carrots or whatever and eat that instead of potato chips or candy. Simple, easy, and you don't feel guilty for snacking! :)

Cook Big Meals

Category: Meals

As a busy career woman and single mother of 3, I have learned to plan ahead and cook big meals that leave leftovers for the week and freezing for meals later in the month or next month. For example, last night I cooked a double batch of chili and a double batch of cornbread muffins. Extras will go in the freezer.  I made healthy protein bars that make for a healthy breakfast or snack as well. I also made breakfast muffins and froze them so the kids can grab one or two for breakfast. So 4 hours of cooking last night and now I don't have to cook for a few days other than small sides.

Forgetting Bills

Category: Organization

I sometimes have trouble keeping track of the due dates of the monthly bills. To help manage this, as the bills come in the mail I first place them in an expanding file, organized by their due dates. Then, on a monthly calendar, I write the bills in according to their due dates, or the date they need to be mailed if it's not a bill that's paid online. I also enter this date on an "event reminder calendar" (from a Hallmark card computer program), that pops up on my computer each morning, so I know what's due to be paid or mailed that day. That way, nothing is ever late because I forgot!

Peaches in the Freezer

Category: Meals

Buy a box/crate of peaches, put in freezer. When you need peaches take out one two or three at a time. Run under hot water till the peel slips right off.  Microwave a few seconds, cut up and use just like any frozen fruit.
But you have no more boiling, cutting, packing fruit fresh.

Say No

Category: Faith

Say "No", even to "good" things. We can spend our lives doing good things but never develop the few things that God really intended for us. Sometimes we can get in the way of having God work in others lives when we are always carrying the load. Don't use this as an excuse, just be sensitive to the fact that "No" is an acceptable answer sometimes.

Homework Together

Category: Parenting

Homework can be something that not only complicates a kid's life, but the whole family if they're stressing out about it.  In order to simplify our family's life and instill good homework ethic, we sit down at the table everyday after school and do homework together as a family. Now our boys are young and it doesn't take long, but if we can use this simple habit for years to come I think I lives will be a little bit less stressful.

Cleaning with a Leaf Blower

Category: Housekeeping

Leaf blowers are not just for leaves. I have learned to "leaf blow" my garage out, patios and drive-way, anything outside that needs to be swept. No more using a broom for this back breaking task. Just turn the leaf blower on and the garage has a clean floor in 5-10 minutes and no broken back.

Reheating Fries

Category: Meals

To reheat french fries without leaving them soggy lay fries on a small baking sheet, lightly spray with PAM (no, not her; the no-stick cooking spray!) Pop under the broiler for 2 minutes, turn the fries over on the sheet and pop back under the broiler for another minute. They will come out nice and crispy like they were originally! Another variation is using the garlic spray instead and you have garlic fries that you can add a little pepper after reheating and they're marvelous!!

Make Vanilla Sugar

Category: Meals

Want to build flavor in that recipe? Make vanilla sugar. The next time your recipe calls for vanilla bean, what will you do with the pod once you scrape out the seeds? That's right, add it to your sugar storage jar. Over time, the vanilla will infuse into the sugar giving your sugar a good building block for your next recipe.

Bites & Rashes

Category: Other

Having a bite or a rash can be bothersome and ointments are both expensive and messy, plus the sprays can burn. For a quick relief, try placing a small ice cube or a cold pack over the bite or rash to ease the itch and discomfort. If you use an ice cube, gently pat dry. This works the majority of the time because the itchiness is from flared up nerve bundles which are warm upon touch. This trick will quickly cool the nerve bundles down and stop the itch. It's easy, fast, and best of all, free.