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:

Candlelight Dinners

Category: Parenting

I am a single mom of a son and daughter. Meal time at the table is important. I would every so often have a candle light dinner with my two kids. I was trying to teach them the peace, appreciation and love for both of them. Since they didn't see their dad express to me in this manner I wanted to express to them. Kids learn by seeing more than teaching. I wanted to create a romantic side of them for their future wife and husband that God is to bring them. What was really neat about it was that my kids (at the time 11 and 7) made a candle light dinner for me. They made me stay in my room and darkened the windows, set the table properly and had me come out to be served. It was so awesome and a blessing.

Picking Out Clothes for School

Category: Time Management

Being a single mom things could get stressful since you are the only one dealing with all the upcoming issues. I had my kids get their clothes picked out for the whole week for school. They would have them hung up in the center of their closet of and in order. This saved a lot of time and stress in the mornings and we could have family breakfast time at the table.

Encouraging Siblings to Make Up

Category: Parenting

I'm a single mom and I know siblings fight. Mine didn't fight much- they truly cared for each other. I tribute that to the love of God but, I treated them as individual human beings and not by their gender (like some parents say; well he's a boy what do you expect and vice-versa). If my kids were fighting I had them sit facing each other on the couch and they had to say something nice to each other (back and forth). They would begin laughing and say goofy things to each other. Then any time they were in time out I had them talk about the situation and how it could be solved and how not to do it again and how it made them feel. The key is one person has the floor to talk the other must listen. This taught them communication skills, respect, etc., and made them responsible for their actions. I look at people as being good but it is their actions that make them bad or good...We must be responsible for our actions which are reactions to others actions.

Save Used Dryer Sheets

Category: Housekeeping

Saved used dryer sheets - they make great little scrubbers. I use them to clean the washer lid and inside the washer, and they are great for cleaning dried on/cooked on spills from your stove top, counter top, etc. No cleaner or water necessary.

Traveling With Kids

Category: Parenting

I have 2 children and have been a single mom since the birth of my 2nd child. When I we would travel I had the the kids pack a backpack with anything they would want to play either by themselves and/or together. And a bag with snacks to save of money. I had plastic car tables for their food and drink then later to color etc. The bag would have crayons, coloring book, drawing paper, game boy, etch a sketch, board games that are designed for the car, CD player with headphones of course, etc. It had to fit in their bag. We also would play other car games together so the family stayed a family. Pray/Play together, Stay together.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Category: Meals

When making peanut-butter cookies and you need to put the peanut-butter in measuring cup first spray the measuring cup with cooking spray and the peanut-butter will slide right out :)

Have Children Help

Category: Housekeeping

My trick is simple, if you are a mother with a load of housework simply have the children help in the chores. Reward them for their help; and all will be swell, not to mention you will get things done much faster and likely be amazed by what a strong worker your little one(s) can be.

Saying No

Category: Parenting

My tip for simplifying is learning to say NO to things. When my kids were little I felt like I wasn't doing enough. Not volunteering at church enough, not attending events in the community, not helping friends out. I had a lot of guilt for things I wanted to do but couldn't with two little babies. My Mother In Law gave me the BEST advice. She said "It's just not the season for you to do those things and that's okay. You are unable to do them because your kids are young but someday they will be older and you will be able to help and be more helpful than you could have been at this time. People should understand that". That was such a freeing moment, knowing that in time I could do those things and not feel guilty that I just couldn't at that moment. It has helped me also to pray before choosing what I am going to volunteer for things. My kids are now teenagers and I get so much more enjoyment in volunteering because I can put my full self into it!!

Declutter A Space

Category: Organization

When trying to declutter a space, place 2 boxes or make 2 piles near where you will be working. Label the 1st box or pile "Give Away" Label the 2nd box or pile "Throw Away" Question yourself if you can't decide what to do with the item: Does this make me happy? (This question might sound odd but if the item doesn't give you good feelings or happy memories when you see it..it shouldn't be in your life.) Do I ever use this item? Would someone else benefit from it? If you decide to keep it immediately put it away. If you don't want it, put it in the pile you feel it belongs in- throw away or donate. Once your throw away pile is full, pitch it and don't let yourself be tempted to look through it again. Take the donation box immediately to the drop box and again, no looking back through things. Trust yourself.

Digital Photos

Category: Organization

Don't we have TONS of them? I've been using this simple way of organizing and keeping track of them for years! At the end of every month I upload the photos for that month onto a photo hosting website (I use Snapfish) and order the reprints for that month. I can also share that month's album with family and friends. This website hosting is free and the reprints are .9 each, much cheaper than any local store, and I don't have to stand in line! This is a great way to keep track of which photos you've ordered and shared.