Confession time: I’m not actually as creative as I seem. I love to bake, draw and make jewelry but most of the time I get my inspiration from social media. (Pinterest is life).
If you’re a fellow Pinterest addict like myself, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of people posting short cuts and life hacks. From the “that can’t possibly work” to the “ain’t no body got time for that”, these posts are everywhere! Lucky for you, I’ve tried some of these life hacks and compiled a short list of the ones that actually work and that I regularly use in my own home.
It goes without saying that one word to describe the life of any parent is “busy”. All of our lives could use a bit of simplicity every now and then. We only have so many hours in the day, so here are some ways to work smarter, not harder.
1. Cake Mix Cookies
While made from scratch cookies are one of God’s gifts to man, sometimes we just don’t have time for butter to soften or for cookie dough to chill, am I right? Did you know that you can turn any boxed cake mix into cookies? The flavor possibilities are basically endless. Strawberry chocolate chip is my personal favorite flavor.
So when time slips away from you and you forget about that bake sale, class party or potluck, remember this little trick! Combine any box cake mix with 2 eggs and ½ cup of oil until it forms cookie dough. Add 1 ½ cups of any extras you like (I like chocolate chips!). Scoop into tablespoon size balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. I get 2 dozen cookies out of one box and it takes less than 5 minutes from box to oven.
2. Softened Butter in Minutes
An experienced baker will tell you that for baked goods, especially cookies, softened butter is the magic ingredient. If the butter is too melted or too cold, you will not the same results. So if you’re in the mood for homemade cookies, but forgot to take your butter out of the fridge, try this…
Boil some water (I use my tea kettle), pour water into a glass. Leave for about 10 seconds, or enough to warm the glass. Dump water out, place empty glass over stick of butter for a couple of minutes until softened to desired texture. Now your butter is ready to be transformed into whatever treat your heart desires.
3. Mason Jar Blender
What’s the kitchen appliance you use the most? For us, our blender gets a lot of love. From smoothies, whipped cream, lattes, and even sauces, we use our blender whenever we can. But one thing I don’t love about using the blender is all the dishes. Ours has a huge glass pitcher and it’s such a pain to wash, especially for a single serving of something.
I recently discovered that the blade attachment on my blender pitcher can actually be screwed off and fits on the mouth of a regular mason jar. Now whenever I want have homemade pumpkin spice latte, I can fill up the jar, screw on the blade and blend away. Screw off the blade and it’s ready to drink straight from the jar!
4. Three Words: SHEET. PAN. EGGS.
My sweet, wonderful husband. He is so good at so many things. Being punctual is not one of those things. Most mornings, his breakfast is anything that he can grab on the go. Unfortunately, most things you can grab and go like muffins, bananas, and toast aren’t very filling.
Did you know that you can cook a big batch of scrambled eggs in the oven?
This has been such a game changer for us. I can bake up some eggs, slice them into squares and store them in the fridge. All my husband has to do is nuke a square in the microwave and slap it on some toast for a quick breakfast sandwich.
I line a square baking dish with foil and spray generously with cooking spray. Scramble 10 eggs in a bowl and season as desired. Pour eggs into prepared pan and add any toppings you like. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set. Once cooled, cut up into squares and store in the fridge.
5. Microwave Easy Clean
Cleaning the microwave is one of those chores we often forget about. I don’t normally think to clean it until I use it and see how gross it is and then promptly forget. As forgettable as it is, it’s also a pain to get off all that cooked on food. Save your scrubbing arm for something else, mama! Here’s an easy way to get your microwave nice and shiny…
Pour about two cups of water in a microwave safe bowl or cup (I use my glass Pyrex measuring cup). If you need some extra oomph, add a squeeze of lemon and a splash of vinegar. Microwave about 3 minutes or until boiling. When the microwave goes off, leave the door closed for 5-10 minutes to let the steam do its thing. Then, we you finally open the door, all you have to do is wipe clean!
Additional Hacks From Fellow Writers and Friends
“Clean everything with one cleaner! We use Young Living Thieves Household Cleaner to clean and sanitize everything in the bathroom, to wipe raw egg off the counter in the kitchen, to wash vegetables, and to take all sorts of stains out of clothes. Using one cleaner for everything reduces decision fatigue for tired parents and de-clutters the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Plus, since the cleaner doesn’t have harsh chemicals, you can put your kids to work helping you mop, wipe counters, or clean their handprints off windows.” – Emily N.
“My fav mom hack is pulling the tabs up on the sides of juice boxes so my daughter holds the “wings” instead of squeezing the box!” – Lisa F.
“My mother-in-law showed me that the best way to cut butter into flour is to freeze it for a bit, then grate it with a cheese grater to get perfectly small pieces!” – Mary A.