7 Things that Make my Life Easier

Friday, August 21, 2015

Linking up with This Ain't The Lycum for another round of 7 Quick Takes!

I have seen sooooo many lists around the internets about the "best" items for a new baby/new mom. But what about after you're done being "new"? I'm a fan of thinking long term.

Well here are the things that make my life easier for longer than the newborn stage and are semi-easy to acquire (because otherwise the washer/dryer in the building, dishwasher, etc. would all have to be on here too.)

1. Ergo

I. Love. This. Carrier. Hate the infant insert part though (so I use a wrap then). This thing is baby catnip. Once in, babies, at least my babies, truely believe they cannot escape. They are stuck in cozy snuggle land until mom does something different.

I put them on my back once they have some good head control so I can do things, like chopping onions and fold laundry, without baby hands getting in the danger zone.
I'm also a big fan of not being tied down to places that are big enough for strollers. In the SF Bay Area it gets old to be getting a stroller on and off buses and up hills. Now it's put on baby, grab bag, walk to destination. Done.

Downside: My babies do not like it very much when I sit down in this carrier due to the very structured belt. They seem to get over that on planes, but I'll often bring a ring sling just in case there.

2. Mrs. Meyer's Surface Scrub 

This seems like a weird thing to have on here, but this stuff is amazing! I don't normally buy natural cleaners (I figure if I can't make it with vinegar or soap then it probably needs the big guns), but I really needed something that would scrub the bathtub well and didn't have bleach in it. I got really tired of ruining clothes with bleach stains.

This stuff works so well! And so fast! It saved my super duper grimy so-bad-we-were-going-to-throw-it-out tea kettle. And it even smells good!

Downside: they don't seem to sell it in retail locations very often. You can buy it directly from Mrs. Meyers and I've seen it on ePantry.

3. Crockpot

I find I like to get most of my work done in the mornings, but cooking dinner normally has to happen in the afternoon. With the crockpot I can just put it together in the morning, set it, and leave it. Mine has an automatic shut off to warm once it's done with it's cooking time, so I can actually leave the house and not have to worry about it.

Downside: not every type of food item is made well in the crockpot. As much as I wanted mac and cheese to be a good crockpot thing, it is just SO much better made stovetop to oven. What works well are: soups, curries (way better crockpot than stove actually!), and meats that you want really moist.

4. Magnificat

This is a monthly devotional magazine that contains all of the mass readings with reflections, simplified morning and evening prayers, saint bios, articles, and good sacred art. It is super useful for the days when I might not be able to hear the readings well. The reflections can be a good stand in for when I can't hear the homily due to dealing with the three year old. It's small enough that I can easily hold it with one hand, and light enough to just carry it around in my purse.

Downside: cost I guess? I can't really come up with a real downside to this one.

5. Thirsties Diaper Covers

These things are invincible! Our first, John, was a difficult one to diaper overnight. We created this system we call "the super diaper". This involves a cloth diaper tri folded inside a disposable diaper covered with a diaper cover - then most of the time he wouldn't leak.
Kid has the water capacity of a camel.
These covers worked so much better than others we tried!

We've been using them for about two and a half years now, and I have yet to go through the mommy rite of passage known as a blow out (knock on wood.)
I use the duo wraps. Pretty undecided on the whole snaps vs. hook and loop thing some people are so adamant about.

Downside: they're the second cheapest instead of cheapest?

6. Pinterest

My actual board for kid ideas. They range from educational to just cool and easy time waster.
I know I said I was sticking to item items, but this really is a very useful tool in our household. The husband and I use it to gauge what sounds good for meal planning, and be able to find the recipes without searching through email. I have a board full of at home activity/craft ideas that I have the stuff for and wouldn't mind doing. When I'm running low on ideas, I pull it up and John can pick from the pictures.

Downside: I have heard that some people feel a lot of pressure from places on the internet like Pinterest. Frankly, this is not one of my struggles, so it doesn't bother me. You would need to evaluate if this is a good tool or just more stress for you.

7. Hand vacuum

We don't have any carpeting in the apartment so investing in a standing vacuum didn't make sense with space at a premium. But little kids are masters to crumb production. This was a $20 vacuum and it's awesome! When the babies are in the "putting my hands/feet in sweeping piles is so much fun!" phase I use it in place of a dustpan.

Downside: You'll get more milage out of a good standing vacuum with a hose attachment if you have carpet. I only own three rugs, all of which I can lift easily, so I just shake them out outside once a week.

What do you think of this list? What are the little things that make a difference for you?  


  1. These are pretty cool! I'm not a mom, so I'm tucking some of these in the back of my mind for "someday" :) I have a small crockpot, but I don't use it very often--come falltime, I should pull it out more, I think. A "little thing" that I find super handy in the ol' housekeeping department is a good blender. I received a Ninja blender as a gift several months before I got married, and I use that thing all the time! Smoothies, falafels, soups, bread crumbs, chopping vegetables...you name it, everything in the kitchen is so much easier!

    1. I have heard good things about the ninjas! I do love my immersion blender. We get a lot of winter squash in our farm box. Like a lot a lot. The immersion blender was a wonderful change for all of the soup making needs.


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