Hello and welcome to the final installment of this “my best” series! Have you enjoyed it so far? I have … but all good things must come to an end. I thought I had shared all my parenting hacks on the first week, but I came up with more! (And I’m sure I’m forgetting some more that I use, alas.)
So, please find some more ideas from my house to yours – and if you have any parenting hacks of your own to share with me, please do! I’m always looking for ways to make this parenting gig easier.
*** But first, an aside. Have you ever read Coach Eli’s great blog? Did you catch his latest “In 6 words or less” post on who we’d go back in time to hug? You’ll find everyone from Jesus to Hitler to Churchill on there – and even Marie Curie, courtesy of yours truly! Happy reading! ***
And, now, the hacks!
- Matching puzzle help. Sometimes a puzzle is too daunting for young kids. Squish had trouble with this rhyming puzzle until I used Elmer’s glue to attach the left side of each match to a big piece of cardboard. The right sides are still in the box, so for now the challenge is manageable. Perhaps soon I can remove the left sides and let her try it out in the open!
- Travel tray. We do long trips in the car to visit family, and this DIY travel tray has been so helpful! Squish puts her coloring book and crayons on it, plays a matching game, works on a sticker book, and even eats a snack on the tray! She says it’s very comfortable and “puffy.” I half-filled an old pillowcase with some of those air cushions Amazon uses in their shipments (I taped them together for stability), then folded over the empty half of the case and safety-pinned it closed (you could sew it … I didn’t). Then I used epoxy to attach the puffy pillowcase to the bottom of a small baking sheet (about 9″x13″). Done! 7-hour car trips, here we come!
- Playground/sandbox survival clean-up kit. I used to hate it when my kids played in the park’s sandbox right before loading into my car to go home. Sand + my car = one unhappy mama! (Or lots of dirt, mulch bits, you name it.) Then I decided to keep a 1-liter bottle of tap water and an old hand towel in my car; now I have an ersatz clean-up station for wiping sandy hands and feet before traipsing the gritty stuff into my (totally not clean) car! Mommy survival at its finest….
- Magnetic letters … on a cookie sheet. Raise your hand if you have a non-magnetic stainless steel fridge. You, too? Man, prettiest/worst invention ever, right? Looks good until you have children with art to display and magnetic letters to play with (and sticky fingers to make fingerprints with). So, I use cookie sheets to let my kids arrange their letters! And it’s portable! Aaand I can have them do a great letter matching activity with it! (Uppercase-lowercase or straight matching)
- Busy time cleaning. Who needs an extra hands-free 15 minutes to prepare dinner? “Me!” said every mom, everywhere. And who loves to play with mom’s Swiffer mop? “Me!” said every kid (and mine!), everywhere. They’re not really cleaning well during their “Cinderella time,” but do we care if it means we can use two hands when chopping veggies with a sharp knife? Nope. Keeping your kids busy for 15 minutes = parenting heaven!
- Magic cleaner for kid’s clothes! No, for real this works. Thank you Pinterest for this. It has worked on food stains, dirt, old stains (six months and older!), you name it. Mix 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, 1 part Dawn soap, and 1 part baking soda. Brush into the stain with an old toothbrush. Let sit for an hour, perhaps brushing in more midway through. Launder immediately as normal. Letting it sit longer than an hour may cause the peroxide to lighten the fabric. I don’t know what the magic ingredient is in this potion, but I’m too thankful to care.
Just a little shout-out to myself and my oldest daughter … because I made her four years ago! I remember that day very well – since then we’ve done so much, not that I remember every moment, but we’ll make today wonderful … complete with homemade mint chocolate chip cupcakes, yum!
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