All moms have tricks. Short cuts. Sanity savers. Things that are simple, yet genius, and could just possibly make your life, or at least day, a bit less stressful. I’ve gathered a few of mine to share with you today. I’d love to hear your secrets for tackling the struggles of everyday life with your family!

Ninja Mom Secret #1:

The Meal Board

I don’t enjoy running to the grocery store with two young kids for forgotten ingredients for dinner. My wallet doesn’t like when I order too much take-out. My solution has been meal planning. I decide on seven simple meals each week, and I make sure I buy all the necessary ingredients for those meals in one shopping trip each week. Then– and here’s the key– I list them on a white board. Why? Because I forget what the options are and panic if I don’t! What’s for dinner? Pick from the list of easy-to-prepare options, and we’re all set!

What's for dinner? Here are the choices!

What’s for dinner? Here are the choices!

Ninja Mom Secret #2:

Iced Coffee Ice Pack

Keeping an eye on the little ones at the park is a big job. Our blogger Patty had some great park safety tips. When bumps do happen, however, a little ice can go a long way in soothing a crying toddler so you don’t have to pack up right then and leave (especially helpful if you have other kids with you who may be still playing happily). Enter our little friend iced coffee (or tea). I don’t feel guilty for indulging if I know my frosty drink just might save the afternoon! 😉

One part refreshing...and one part first aid

One part refreshing…and one part first aid

Ninja Mom Secret #3:

Keeping it all together…in the linen closet

Changing the sheets might be my least favorite household job. Somehow, I always seem to lose track of a pillowcase, and finding a matching fitted sheet and flat sheet isn’t always easy. My mom taught me a trick recently that has made this chore easier. Simply fold the fitted sheet and place it inside one pillow case, and fold the flat sheet and put it inside the other pillowcase. Voila! Sheets stay neatly folded and easy to grab…even if you find yourself changing your toddler’s sheets at 2 am!

No more lost pillow cases!

No more lost pillow cases!

Ninja Mom Secret #4:

Make your kids do the dirty work!

My kids, like most of my friends’ kids, love bubble baths. I am happy to oblige, but I don’t enjoy cleaning the dried-on soap scum that they leave behind. A friend taught me this awesome trick. We keep a dish scrubber filled with a mixture of dish soap, white vinegar, and water (see photo) under the bathroom sink. When bathtime ends, my four year old is more than happy to scrub the tub. A quick rinse and everything is shiny and scum-free!

Putting those kids to work after bathtime

Putting those kids to work after bathtime

Ninja Mom Secret #5:

Make your own ice pops for seasonal allergy relief

My kids would eat ice pops all day if I let them. I’m well acquainted with the many variations of juice pops, but recently discovered a great remedy for those pesky seasonal allergies that tend to cause trouble this time of year: green tea and honey pops! Green tea with local honey really helps keep the coughing down, but few kids are interested in sitting quietly and sipping a cup of tea. But as a pop? They’re all over it. Be sure to use plenty of honey! Any pop maker will do the job, but one of the flash-freeze pop makers are convenient for instant relief.

Soothing sore throats and coughs naturally...iced green tea and honey pops

Soothing sore throats and coughs naturally…iced green tea and honey pops

Ninja Mom Secret #6:

Cotton swab keys

Do you have button locks on your bedroom and bathroom doors? We do, and recently, our two year old has decided it’s great fun to push them in and shut doors behind him as he leaves a room. No one likes discovering the bathrooms and bedrooms have been locked, especially when you have a preschooler who has to go now! We lost that little wire “key” that you’re supposed to use ages ago…but a cotton swab cut in half will also get the job done easily. The inside of a ballpoint pen also works, but cut up cotton swabs are easier to stash in case of a locked door emergency.

Locked out? Not anymore!

Locked out? Not anymore!

Works like a charm

Works like a charm

That’s all for now…what are your secrets for making life with kids run more smoothly? I’d love to hear them!

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