Monday, March 7, 2016

Mom Tips - For Around the House, #2

I so enjoy the little "mom tips" that I've come across in life - those little things that I've learned learned from my mom, or a mom friend, that just make life a little nicer.  Things that make the "daily-daily" just a little easier, or make me smile a little more, or maybe will be a time saver for me.  I'm not referring to the bigger projects like de-cluttering or re-organizing, (although those definitely make me smile)!  But just the small things - the "mom tips" that aren't in the self-help books, they're just life-experience things that I've gotten from a mom with experience under her belt.  Well I'll share with you some of my Mom Tips for Around the House, #2 (here is #1); I hope they bring a simple breath of fresh air to your regular every day patterns!  *smile*

 ~ Wrapping things up.  I like to keep cords out of the way - off my counter tops where they not only bring clutter and and a cluttered appearance, but they collect and capture dust and food and dirt.  And I like to keep the cords off of the floor where they catch people's feet.  So I keep them wrapped up with a wire or twist tie.  My favorite thing to use are those nice long clear-coated wire ties that bind new toys to their packaging. 

~ Contained batteries.  We buy batteries at Costco but they don't stay in their packaging with so many people getting in to them, and they end up all over the drawer we keep them in.  I initially kept the batteries separated by type with gallon-size Ziplock baggies, but the younger children couldn't zip them closed again so the baggie would get emptied all over the drawer.  So I began using these disposable Tupperware containers stacked in the drawer, and they work great!  These can be purchased from Costco, Wal-Mart, and probably Safeway or Fred Meyer.

~ Great "slippers" that aren't slippers.  I wear slippers pretty much all day every day around the house, but I've yet to find great ones that last me an entire year - doesn't seem like too much to ask, but still the fact remains.  I've always thought it would be nice to just get new slippers every year for Christmas and then have them last until the next Christmas.  I've tried inexpensive ones that slip on, but those slip off too easily once the foam sole squishes down flat making them to loose, and I don't like having to hold them on with my toes all the time.  I've tried expensive sheep skin ones, but after a while my toes wear off the wool and so the whole toe area inside is then bald and then eventually rips.  I've tried expensive down or fleece boots, but they don't breathe well enough and soon begin to stink if my feet sweat, and even after I wash them it's only one day later that they reek again - not worth it.  I've tried open back ones, ankle ones, and mid-calf ones...none of them make it an entire year, and some not even an entire winter season!  And, I can't wash them too often or they'll fall apart, and they usually have to be air-dried  for days which I don't have time for especially when my feet are cold.  So!  I've started purchasing at Costco a package of men's athletic socks!  The bottoms are extra thick and squishy soft, they breathe perfectly, I can throw them in to the wash all the time, and my 5-pair package easily lasts about 2 years before they start getting holes in the heals.  They're perfect for me!  Of course they can't be worn outside to get the mail or the newspaper as some slippers with rubber soles can be, but I never go outside in my slippers, and I like to pull my feet up to sit cross-legged anyway and I can't do this easily with rubber-soled slippers.  So - I'd highly recommend men's athletic socks, inexpensively purchased from Costco, if you need something to keep your feet warm, clean, and smelling nice.  *smile*  *chuckle*

~ Less on the brain when stuffy.  I keep a post-it note on the cold medicine box I'm using so that I can write down not only what time I took the cold medicine, but I even write in parentheses what time I can it again next, four hours from that time.  If I'm sick, it's likely that other kids are also sick, and I do not want to try to remember which person had which medicine at which time - so I write everything down for them and for me.  I don't even want to try to remember if I can take this medicine after 4 hrs. or 6 hrs., so I think it through one time and write it down.  I'm actually more likely to remember the exact time I can take cold medicine again if I've already thought it through once, and this helps me be sure to be feeling as well as possible back-to-back, proactively.

        I actually try not to take any cold medicine at all if I can still function fairly normally during the day, because I need to feel like lying down if my body needs that, and I need to know when I'm extra tired.  If I falsely feel too good when I'm sick (due to medicine) then it's been very difficult for me to have the discipline to slow down and rest the sickness away.  But if I just feel awful and don't know how I'm going to make it through the day with all the kids then I take DayQuil (and then NyQuil at night) to help me.  (In this photo I didn't have any DayQuil left to use for a photo example for you *chuckle*, so I used this box, but obviously I don't take night time medicine in the "am" morning).

~ No caps to keep track of.  I buy pens that are the click-to-open kind so that I don't have to keep track of any pen caps while I'm writing.  Ball point pens, highlighter pens, and permanent pens - any pen I need I always try to get the clicker kind.  It may seem silly *chuckle*, but really, the more I can take off of my mind the less I feel frustrated, irritated, or stressed - and can therefore smile more.  *smile*

~ Hidden bookmarks.  Our 8-year-old son started this great idea for keeping book marks in our books, yet disabling toddlers from pulling the book marks out, losing our places!  We have an end table by our couches which is designated as "home" for books currently being read, but disappointingly this makes for an easy target for kids who like to pull out book marks.  So, we now put a post-it note inside the book completely hidden from the outside, to mark our place where we left off.  We simply flip through the book for the brightly-colored marker, and no time is wasted trying to find our place again.  Love it. 

~ Pretty fish bowl.  We have a very small house (1,1oo sq ft.) and a very small kitchen, and I'm not willing to share my very little counter space with a fish bowl.  *chuckle*  So I was thrilled to think of using one of my flower vases to house our Beta fish, "Pretzel".  We love it!  It's flat and out of the way up against the wall, it's pretty, and we can always see him swimming around as the vase is not very deep front-to-back.

These next 24 ideas and photos are not my own; they were sent to me twice in an email by two different friends recently (friends who know that I collect Mom Tips!  *laugh*), and I love them!  The author is also a talented photographer - so I had to add these ideas and photos to our blog for Mom Tips For Around the House.  There is no name listed for me to give credit to, so I have no idea who's ideas they are or who took the photos.  But enjoy!

~ Hull strawberries easily using a straw.

~ Disguise dings and scrapes in your furniture by rubbing a walnut over them.

~ Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40.
~ Stop cut apples browning in your child's lunch box by securing the apple closed with a rubber band.

~ Overhaul your linen cupboard by storing bed linen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.

~ Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone or iPod in a bowl.  The concave shape amplifies the music.

~ Store plastic bags using a re-used wet-wipes container.

~ Sand is easily removed with baby powder.

~ Store plush toys by adding a Velcro strip to the wall.

~ Store wrapping paper up against the ceiling using wire, rather than cluttering up the floor.

~ Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a sock over the vacuum hose.

~ Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting crosses into a box lid.

~ Here's how to fold a fitted sheet without all the scrunching and bunching:

~ Store bathroom essentials such as bobby pins, tweezers and clippers on a magnetic strip behind a vanity door.

~ To stop dirty shoe soles from rubbing on your clothes, store them inside a shower cap.  And you can find these in just about every hotel.

~ Create a craft caddy in a muffin pan.  Magnets [or hot glue] hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.

~ Label your cords with bread tags.

~ Bake cupcakes directly in ice cream cones; so much more fun and easier for kids to eat.

 ~ Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag.  Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.

~ Hang your spray bottles by installing a tension rod inside your cupboard.

~ Create cookie bowls for fruit or ice cream by turning a muffin pan upside down and baking cookie dough over the top.

~ Enjoy sunburn relief by freezing Aloe Vera in ice cube trays.

~ Create a window box veggie patch using guttering.

~ Separate and store your Christmas decorations using egg cartons.

Blessings through your days this week!  And may you find at least one of these tips to add an extra smile to your home!


  1. Those are some neat tips. I like the one about the cookie dough bowls. I wonder why they don't drip off the edge. Hmmm. i may have to try that one.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I love the pictures as I'm very visual...Blessings!

  3. They are great tips. thank you for posting:) Have a blessed day!!!

  4. How fun! I will have to try the sock idea: with all the reading on the couch, nursing a baby, I am always kicking off my slippers, then not wanting to put them on. And my kids have been wanting a fish; how easy to just use a vase we have. Thanks for all the ides! I am not brilliant, but after a gap of 3 years between babies, I realized how much we use baby wipes: for dusting, wiping off stains, etc. We live in an older house with wide base molding, so the kids are happy to wipe it all down for me!

  5. Thank you for your ideas. I believe I have seen these before on

  6. Thanks for sharing! Our house is about the same size (somewhere between 1000 and 1200 I can't remember exactly) and this is going to sound pathetic, probably, but I feel like we're already being super careful about decluttering and I still feel like we're going to end up crowded with just one child in our house. How do you do bedrooms and everything (not that it's my business, but just wondering if you do bunk beds or how you figure out how much living space/bedroom space a child needs)?

  7. I love these types of posts! I especially love the tension rod idea for storing spray bottles. All of the ideas are helpful! (I've been buying click pens for the same reason as you - I got so excited the first time I found Sharpee click pens!)

  8. Just wanted to say - the walnut trick works! After I read your post, I grabbed a walnut out of the pantry and rubbed it on the front corner of my oak buffet that had been scruffed up. I'm not sure how it works, but it does! I can't believe it!

  9. There are so many amazing ideas on this blog. Honest to goodness I have NO IDEA how you do it all. I didn't see a nanny in any of your pictures! How is that even possible! I'm going to try a few of your tricks!

  10. LADIES - Love your comments and participation! =)
    JULIE - I'm so happy to share about our bedrooms, and actually you can "tour" them with a virtual photo tour if you go to the Topics List on the home page and click on "OUR HOME", if you'd like to see them. Basically, our two childrens' bedrooms are for sleeping only. Toys are up stairs in the play room. So we use bunks, and will be adding two more bunk beds in the next couple of months, replacing cribs. We simply determine what we need for a person/baby (crib, changing table, dresser for clothes) and choose where those will go and then fit in to the house whatever else will fit. Not the other way around. ;) If the Lord give us children then we prioritize them and get rid of what ever stuff doesn't fit, and wait to add those things back in (craft or sewing room? office room? library room? guest room?) to the next season of life when children are moved out and on their own. We are confident that the Lord has given us the space we need for the children He sends to us, we just need to make it work for us however that looks like. =)

  11. Thanks Erika,
    I looked at your virtual tour. We have 1 bath, 3 bedroom, slab foundation, no attic or basement so our 1100 sq feet is just that, nothing hiding upstairs or down. I am fine with giving up the guest room, it's mostly for food storage and what not anyway.
    The least of my worries is room for more children. If you think to pray for us we would really love for God to give us more babies but we sadly buried our second baby 6 weeks ago.

  12. JULIE - Oh my gosh...I'm so, so sorry...*hugs* I will pray for you right now...

  13. I love these tips. The garden one using guttering is my favourite..... and the cookie dough bowls and the baby powder one. Sand on little feet & legs is a big deal for us!

    Your blog always makes me smile :)

    Susan x

  14. I from Hungary I am, from Budapest, I do not speak too well in English. The German, Italian is going better rather and sure Hungarian. I would have liked expressing how professional one I consider your things only, we read your blog gladly. Good to read, how marvellously you organize. Really many of your councils give. I desire another much happiness and a success!

    With love from Hungary welcomes :


  15. I was preparing to host a party on Saturday and I wanted to get energized to do a big sweep! I don't know if I'm energized or overwhelmed! :) I so smile because of our matched families, I have 10 wonderful kids is what makes me giggle...I also have twins that are the youngest in our family...we call them our exclamation marks....Joshua and little warriors....I would so like to come over for coffee and hang out for awhile. My twins also sleep in a unique place....our large master 1/2 bath :). What a blessing...Shawn

  16. SHAWN - I was excited at the possibility of having you over to visit and play! Sounds like our families would have fun - and I'd love to meet your twins - and then I discovered that you live in ND. *snap* Darn. =)

  17. Can't wait to use a tension rod to hang my spray bottles on!


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  20. I love all of these great tips! My kids have been asking for a fish but I have no free counter space so perhaps a narrow tall vase would do the trick. I store my batteries the same way and try to find clickable pens as well. :) Mommy minds think alike I guess! ~homeschooling mom of seven

  21. I too love the clickable pens. I tried the popcorn in a brown bag several months ago. So much better ( and cheaper) than buying the microwave popcorn.

  22. You shared some terrific ideas! Thanks.
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Very off topic. When did baby no.ten arrive? I follow your blog regularly but must have missed it. Praying for Alison

    1. Ms. Alison,

      Baby #10 went straight to be with Jesus. Please forgive me, Mrs. Shupe, for answering a question that was addressed to you but I thought it might be easier that way.

    2. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. Love,hugs and prayers to you and your family Erica. Thank you for all the encouragement you give me. I am a South African homeschooled mom of seven,two born in my forties, only because of God's goodness and grace.Docters and family have given me a hard time,so once again thank you for the encouragement. May God bless you and answer your prayers. Love Alison.



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