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:

White Noise App

Category: Parenting

We have a new Grand baby girl - soon to be four months old. My daughter-in-law found an app on her phone called "white noise". One of the sounds is a running vacuum sweeper. This thing is magic! When little Haddie is fussy and doesn't want to go to sleep, she simply turns this on and the baby immediately calms down and is happy once again and often falls asleep. Needless to say, I (her Nana) now have this free app on my phone also!

To-Do List

Category: Organization

To simplify things and make sure we are on the same page, we create a list of 5 things we need to accomplish the next day after the kids have gone to bed. It can be as simple as: unload the dishwasher, pack lunches, give bathes, bake a loaf of bread, or vacuum. With the list, we found that we aren't getting frustrated with each other after work and have a set goal of what we want to accomplish that night, which equals much more time together once the kids have gone to bed!

Plane Travel with Kids

Category: Parenting

With two young children in tow, my wife developed a trick for making our flights between Champaign and San Diego for visiting grandparents much more peaceful for both us and those on the plane. Essentially, my wife would go to the dollar store and buy very inexpensive, yet creative gifts for the kids. These are things like reading books, coloring pages with ink pens, or puzzles, and each would cost less than $1.00 per item. After purchasing them, all of the gifts would be individually wrapped as "presents" for the flight. Once on the airplane, the kids each receive a present every 30 minutes or hour. This provides some excitement, entertainment, and incentive for good behavior the entire 4 hours en route. We always received compliments about how well the kids were behaved, little did people know why. We now do this in car trips and everywhere we go that involves traveling 4 or more hours. My wife is brilliant!

Washing Dishes

Category: Housekeeping

For baked on food on pots, pans, or glass dishes, simply fill with water while you are washing the dishes set on stove top and boil or bake in oven glass casserole at 400. By the time you are done with the rest of your dishes simply dump out hot water baked on food will wipe out easy. This is the best tip a friend shared with me 20 years ago when I got married. No soaking over night.

Homemade Detergents

Category: Housekeeping

Making your own detergents and save hundreds of dollars per year.
Dish Detergent: Arm and Hammer washing soda, Borax, salt, 3 drops of Dawn, and citric acid. You can also add vinegar to the rinsing agent compartment for those hard water spots. Laundry soap: Borax and washing soda again; 5 drops of dawn, grated Naptha laundry soap bar, (I also add some of the generic oxy clean from the dollar tree) I have started doing this only this year and the supplies cost me around $50 however I made about 40 gallons of laundry detergent and 20 of dishwasher detergent. It should last me about 6-8 months!!!

Assign a Day

Category: Parenting

Assign each day of the week to a family member. The child or parent of the day picks their choices, like what to eat for every meal (this helps the grocery list & picky eaters), goes first for games, picks tv/movie, etc. However, they have to set the table, wash the table & vacuum after every meal, empty the garbage, & have attitudes/behaviors glorifying to God to keep their day.

Matching Socks

Category: Housekeeping

 I never sort my socks. They all match each other. My wife never needs to sort socks because they are all the same. Just for kicks, they are gold toe socks.

Cookie Dough

Category: Other

My tip is for all those cookie dough lovers! I usually make a double batch of chocolate chip cookie and if I have all the ingredients I'll make a few different types of dough. I ball up all the dough and bake only enough for my family of 4 to have a few cookies. While the cookies are baking, I'll stick my cookie dough balls on a cool cookie sheet and place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes (long enough to harden). Then I remove the dough from the freezer, place them in freezer bag, date and label. When we get invited to a get together we always have cookie dough available to bake or we can have a fresh, hot cookie for an after school snack! And for my husband who would rather eat just the dough......there's always some in the freezer.

Lunch packing

Category: Meals

To simplify lunch packing and keeping the fridge organized, I place all sandwich making items (like deli meat, cheese, mustard, etc.) in a single container (such as a Tupperware dish or an old ice bin) in the refrigerator. That way, I pull out one bin that has everything I need, and I save precious morning minutes.

Birthday Trips

Category: Parenting

We lived in a very small home and our children's birthdays are in months that didn't allow for outside parties. Instead of spending a lot of money on renting a facility to hold a party and get a lot of gifts we didn't have room for, we spent the money on a weekend family get away. Family would give the girls cash for a shirt or small souvenir to remember the trip. These trips were some of the best family memories and we didn't have to stress out planning a party away from home or find room for all the gifts.