25 Best Mom Hacks that Save Time, Energy, and Money

Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Moms- You are hard workers!

I know how much time, effort, patience, energy, money, and ingenuity are required to be a mom. It’s exhausting!

That’s why I keep my eyes open for any small tricks of the trade the simplify my life.

Here’s some of my favorite hacks for mamas like me!

Comment Below- What “Mom Hacks” save you time, energy, or money??

 

1. OFF Spray for Monsters Under the Bed

You know how you can buy “Off” to keep mosquitoes away? Well, some clever parent decided to make their own “Monster Spray” to help a child calm down in the night.

So smart huh??

All you need is a spray bottle, some essential oils for scent, and water.

Explain to the child that the monsters don’t like the smell of the spray, just like mosquitoes don’t like Off. Then spray a little of the “Monster Spray” under the child’s bed to keep monsters away all night long.

Genius!

2. Save the Socks

Do you lose your socks in the laundry all the time? Seriously, where do they go? I have to know… my brain is going to explode because I can’t figure it out.

Until I get that one sorted out, I have started to put all my socks into one mesh garment bag in the washer. It zips closed to keep all my socks together while they are cleaned.

Then when the laundry is all done, every sock has a match (can you imagine that???) and I don’t have to sort through the clothes to find all the socks. It’s amazing!

person holding front-load clothes washer botton

3. Label Clothing with Initials

I used to think that labeling clothing was only for “lost and found” purposes. If my daughter left her jacket at school, we could easily identify it from the massive pile of jackets that her classmates have lost throughout the year.

But I recently learned another great use.

Labeling laundry (all laundry) by putting each child’s initials on the tag or inside makes folding laundry SOOO much easier!

I can turn on my favorite show, sit on the couch, and fold away without any concentration on the task. I feel like I’m having some veg-time but really I’m getting work done. t’s so wonderful!

4. Grocery Pick Up from Walmart

If you haven’t tried this, you’ve got to check it out!

I love the grocery pick up from Walmart. Obviously, it’s super easy! All I have to do is order some items online, pay online, and drive up to the pick up window.

But there are other perks too! I don’t have to buckle and unbuckle the kids, the kids don’t get upset when they see things in the store that they can’t have, I don’t spend unnecessary money picking up items that weren’t on my list, and my favorite of all…. drum roll… Walmart occasionally upgrades my purchases if they were out of the item that I originally wanted! Cool huh?

5. Amazon Dash Button

Amazon Dash Buttons are fantastic! All you need is Wifi and you’re ready to go.

Your Amazon Dash Button will help you order those daily necessities as soon as you notice that you need more.

You know how you’re always thinking to yourself, “Oh, toilet paper, don’t forget to buy toilet paper the next time I go to Walmart….” and then you forget?

No more of that!

Just order it instantly and easily using your Amazon Dash Button!

Even better- there are Amazon Dash Buttons available in all your favorite brands!

Click the images below to purchase your Amazon Dash Buttons today!

-Starbucks Double Shot

-Campbell’s Chunky Soup


-Gerber Formula

-Dixie Paper Products

-Kleenex

-Doritos Chips

-Pampers

-All Laundry Detergent

-Hefty Bags

-Ziploc Bags

-Clorox Wipes

-Colgate

-Goldfish

-Cascade

-Tide

-Pringles

-Iams Pet Food

-Red Bull

6. Packed Lunches in 5 Seconds

Need a quick and easy way to assemble school lunches? Try this!

Dedicate a section of your fridge just for packed school lunches. On Sunday night, make 5 sandwiches per child, 5 Ziploc bags of veggies per child, 5 juice boxes per child, 5 other sides per child (fruit, chips, fruit snacks, dessert, etc.). Now, you have enough fixin’s to throw together a full lunch for every child every school day for an entire week! Grab n’ go! 

Or even better- let the kids grab whatever they want to eat that day! Done!

7. Double Layered Waterproof Mattress Pad and Sheet

This might be my favorite mom trick of all time. When you make up a baby or a toddler’s bed, layer one mattress pad, then one sheet, then another mattress pad, and another sheet.

The magic here is that if your child has a blowout diaper, if they wet the bed, or if they get sick in the middle of the night, you can easily pull off the top layer of mattress pad and sheet. Throw those in the wash. Meanwhile, the child’s bed is ready to go so you can get them settled back in for the night without any hassle!

photo of baby laying on bed

8. Disinfecting Toys

Toys get messy fast. They need to be cleaned… but how??

Try putting toys into a mesh garment bag to keep them contained then put them through the washing machine! Air dry, and you’re done! No extra scrubbing required!

9. Decrease the Fast Food Mess While Traveling

Occasionally while traveling, fast food can be a necessary evil.

But it’s such a mess in the car! How’s a 5 year old supposed to hold a hamburger, apple slices, fries, and a drink?

The solution- ask the restaurant for one disposable beverage tray per child. Then assemble each child’s food in the beverage tray! There’s enough slots to hold it all for them.

burgers and fries inside box

10. Duct Tape Diapers

Did your toddler go through a phase of taking off her own diapers? Mine did. It’s no fun.

Sometimes the diapers were clean, which was annoying because then I was guaranteed to have pee on the floor soon. Sometimes the diapers were dirty, which was just disgusting.

Needless to say, it had to stop. Duct tape fixed that right up! I basically duct taped a belt around my child’s diaper so that she couldn’t remove it herself. Easy peasy!

11. Personalized Bins

My home gets cluttered so fast. Not dirty, jut cluttered- full of random things that my kids throw everywhere instead of putting them away.

The usual offenders include shoes, backpacks, pencils, folders, lunchboxes, coats… all the “home from school” stuff.

I love the idea of having a bin for each child to put all of their school stuff in. Nothing gets lost, it’s all ready for them to leave the next day, and it’s all out of your living space. Perfect!

12. Veggie Squeezes

Baby food pouches or applesauce pouches are wonderfully healthy and kids love them!

They are quick, easy, transportable, not messy, and tasty! Perfect!

And they provide even more of those healthy fruits and veggies that you’re always trying to convince your kids to try.

bowl of vegetable salads

13. Mark Left and Right on Shoes

I love when toddlers get to the independent stage. You know, the stage when they want to do everything themselves.

That stage is so fun because your little one is learning tons of amazing life skills, and you get a little break from some of the things you usually have to do for the child.

Shoes pose a unique challenge because it’s difficult for kids to tell which shoe goes on which foot. But my kids usually forget to double check with me until after the shoes are on their feet and tied tight. That means I have to make time for the child to put the shoes on, wait for them to ask, switch the shoes, and then we’re finally ready to leave the house.

No thank you. Instead, I marked all of the shoes with “L” and “R” inside the shoe so that she could tell which foot that shoe belongs on! Done!

14. Wifi Vs Chores

It can be tough to motivate kids to help with chores. They know they are supposed to do their chores, but they complain, and argue, and fight you the whole way.

It’s not easy as the parent to stick to your guns when it comes to chores. It’s sometimes just easier to do the chores yourself.

If your child needs a little extra push to help out around the house, try changing the wifi password every morning. He can have the new password after he finishes up his chores! This stops the arguing, gives him new motivation, and allows you to spend your time doing better things other than nagging your kids to do their chores!

If you don’t need the wifi, you could also just unplug your router and keep it hidden until chores are done.


Other Great Reads: 

10 Best Hair Styles for Mom on a Busy School Morning

How to Create and Implement a Kick @$$ Chore Chart

20 Things I Wish I’d Known BEFORE I Started Potty Training

Helping Your Toddler Understand Time- Less than $20 DIY Resource for Parents

Creative Ways to Save Money For Parents and Families


 

15. Puppy Potty Pads

You know how you use those pads to house train a puppy? Why not use those pads to house train a child??

Yep, that’s right. Puppy pads can save your couches, beds, and other furniture while you potty train your kids.

16. String of Cheerios

Cheerios are a favorite snack in my house, especially to my babies and toddlers. But they are so messy! I’m always vacuuming up Cheerios that are crushed in my carpet.

Instead of handing toddler a bowl of Cheerios or hand feeding Cheerios to my baby, I’ve started stringing Cheerios on a piece of dental floss. My little ones (especially teething babies) can chew the snack as they want without me having to keep a close eye on them.

Side note- I do not put the string of Cheerios around the child’s neck for safety reasons.

17. Pencil Case of Kids’ Stuff in Your Purse

Do you keep all sorts of items in your purse for your kids?

My purse has snacks, crayons, small notepads, bows for their hair, baby socks, a pacifier… Tons of random items that are just for the kids.

And what’s worse- because there is so much stuff floating around in there, I can never find what I need when I need it. I’d have to empty the entire purse to get to it! It’s also difficult to switch purses if I want to because I’d have to move over all the kids’ stuff as well as my own stuff.

Here’s how to solve the problem. Fill a pencil box with all the kid stuff. Now, it’s all in one place, your purse is less cluttered, and it’s easy to locate items you need.

woman holding brown and pink floral leather crossbody bag

18. Rolled Up Towel Under Baby’s Head in the Bathtub

Babies are difficult to bathe.

Here’s my favorite method to make sure my baby’s head and face stay above the water line.

Fold one hand towel and place it under my baby’s head to raise her up above the water. Then, roll a second hand towel and place it under her neck. This helps her stay balanced and comfortable in the bathtub. The rolled towel also keeps her from rolling from side to side so that I can wash her without worry.

19. Grounded Until….

Do you ever use the “grounded” method to punish your kids for misbehaving?

It does work for a lot of kids, but the tough part is that grounding kids can be a punishment for mom as well as for the kid.

So here’s a great mom hack that can save you!

Instead of grounding your child for a certain amount of time (one week, three days, etc.) try grounding your child until he earns a certain amount of “points.” You determine what positive behaviors earn points and how many points that behavior is worth.

Or, try grounding your child until they complete a to do list. You can include things like making restitution to whoever they hurt when they acted out, helping around the house, completing school work, read a book, or doing acts of service for others.

silhouette of child sitting behind tree during sunset

20. Freezer Meals

Freezer meals are the best! You spend one day cooking in bulk, then you don’t have to cook for a week or two, depending on how much freezer space you have!

Or just make one big recipe and freeze half of it. You had to cook dinner tonight anyways, so why not make a bigger batch so that you can have some for later?? This will save you from throwing away leftovers and you’ve got dinner ready for a difficult day!

You can save a ton of money and waste less!

Try freezing enchiladas, pasta bakes, lasagna, homemade pizza, or try customized freezer meals. 

21. Contact Information Close By

Find clever ways to keep your phone number on your child at all times. Just in case your child gets lost, kind strangers will be able to help him get back to you again if they can contact you.

Here are some good ideas: make a bracelet with your phone number for your child, write your number on your child’s backpack/shoes/coat, use a backpack tag with your phone number, put your number on a key chain, etc.

person's hand over brown floral field during daytime

22. Keep a “Sick Container” with All Your Flu Season Needs

Kids get sick at the most inopportune moments. Often in the middle of the night.

I used to get caught in the middle of the night digging around in my cupboards for medicine, a bowl for the little one to throw up in, cleaning supplies to clean puke, a thermometer, Gatorade, or chicken noodle soup to help a sick little child.

Now, I keep all those things in a “sick container”. Really, it’s just a 5 gallon bucket, but it has everything I need at a moment’s notice. I can get my little one all fixed up and back to bed without even having to turn my brain on. Back to sleep for everyone!

baby sleeping on black surface

24. Walmart Bag for Trash in the Van

Does your vehicle fill up with all kinds of trash like mine does? I don’t even know where it all comes from.

Fast food while traveling is the worst, but even during our everyday drives to school and the grocery store trash just seems to fill up.

Plastic Walmart bags are easy to loop around arm rests. Now, you’ve got a built in “trash bag”. As soon as the bag is full, simply remove it, tie it up, and throw it out. Replace the bag with a new Walmart bag.

And you can feel good about reusing those plastic bags instead of throwing them out.

24. Keep Outfits Together in a Ziploc Bag

When I travel, I end up with piles of children’s clothes thrown all over the place as I search through our things to find the cute outfits I’d planned.

Instead of ruffling through everything, put all the items you need for one cute outfit together in a gallon Ziploc bag. That means shirt, pants, underwear, jewelry, bows, socks, the whole nine yards! All in one convenient place!

All you have to do is pick one bag full of items and you’re all set to dress your child.

women's assorted clothes

25. New and Improved Ice Pack for “Owies”

My kids always seem to need ice packs. We’re always getting bumps and bruises. But ice packs fix them up right away and they’re off to play again!

The problem is that ice packs break, leak, and cause messes. And they’re hard and uncomfortable.

Rather than using traditional ice packs, I’ve switched to frozen marshmallows. They’re soft, clean, and they still fix the “ouchies.” My kids also love to eat one marshmallow after. Then I refreeze the rest and we’re all ready for next time!

 

Comment Below- What “Mom Hacks” save you time, energy, or money??

I hope this hacks save you some time.

And I hope you recycle that newfound time into yourself, your kids, your significant other, or whoever needs you most right now! 

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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Custom Freezer Meals- So That You Can Save Time and Eat Healthy

Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Updated 2/2/2019

parent’s time is in high demand. The to do list is endless, the kids need our love and attention, and we need a break ourselves.

Any possible way to cut down on our demands is a blessing!

That’s why I created these custom freezer meals- for parents who just need a little less time cooking and a little more time with their kids.

two babies and woman sitting on sofa while holding baby and watching on tablet

These meals are super basic and very yummy! My favorite part is that they are customizable so I can eat something new, something I’m excited about, and something that my kids will eat.

All you have to do is choose one of each of the basic components, which are: 1- Meat, 2- Veggie, 3- Side of Rice or Potatoes, 4- Sauce or Seasoning.

Each meal is freezer safe. They are easy to cook when you need them- easy enough for my husband to feel comfortable putting them together. It is so nice to have a break from cooking once in a while or to just have a quick meal!

Improve your freezer meal by adding healthy and delicious energy-boosting super foods!

Here’s how to do it!

1. Write the directions for cooking on a gallon Ziploc bag.

Choose a freezer-specific Ziploc bag. These work best if you plan to keep these meals long term for a rainy day by avoiding freezer burn.

This step is best to complete first because it is easier to write on the bag before it is full of food.

There are more specifics in step #7 about what to write… after I explain the rest of the process.
Ziploc Freezer Bags Gallon, 60.0 Count

For the following steps, feel free to include the kids for the assembly of your freezer meals!

2. Choose your meat.

slices of meat in commercial freezer

Some of our favorites are:

  • Chicken breast
  • Chicken legs
  • Chunks of beef or pork
  • Pork chops
  • Steaks
  • Turkey breast
  • Ham
  • Fish

Place your meat in a gallon, freezer-safe Ziploc bag.

3. Choose a sauce or seasoning to go with your meat.

I love pre-made sauces from the store, like barbecue sauce or honey mustard. They usually only cost a couple bucks (or less!) and I don’t have to put any extra energy into preparing a sauce. This makes these meals cheap and easy to throw together.

several cups with condiments

Examples include:

  • BBQ sauce
  • Ranch seasoning packet
  • Italian seasoning
  • Lemon pepper seasoning
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Orange chicken sauce
  • Kung pao sauce
  • General Tso’s sauce
  • Mesquite smoke packet
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Honey Mustard

Add the sauce or seasoning to your meat.

4. Add liquid.

If you chose to flavor your meal with a dry seasoning, it will need more liquid for the cooking process. Add about 1/2 cup of water or broth. I prefer broth because it adds flavor.

The extra liquid will keep your food (especially the meat) from drying out.

**Don’t be afraid to add more liquid during the cooking process if you would like!

5. Veggie time.

assorted fruits at the market

Decide if you want your veggies to be coated in the sauce along with your meat or separate from the meat and sauce. (For example, I like broccoli on the side of my BBQ chicken, but I don’t like broccoli with BBQ sauce on it. I do like onions mixed in with my BBQ chicken.)

It is extra convenient to buy the frozen packaged veggies. Some fresh veggies don’t freeze well, so buying the frozen kind ensures that your frozen meal will turn out great! Plus, frozen veggies are cheap and there is no prep necessary!

Remember to check this post to find out what veggies will increase your energy!

If you want your veggies in the sauce, add them to the gallon Ziploc bag with your meat.

If you want your veggies separate, place them in a smaller Ziploc. Add butter, salt, or any seasonings desired. Place the small Ziploc into the gallon Ziploc bag. You will cook the veggies separately when you are ready to enjoy your meal, but this keeps everything together for easy storage.

6. Prepare your side of rice or potatoes.

We won’t cook the side just yet- but we will keep each component of the meal together in the freezer for easy storage. (This also helps me when I’m cooking because I have mommy brain and don’t always have the wherewithal to piece together a full meal. It’s better to have it all in one place for those days.)

rice in bowl

Place 2 cups of uncooked rice, potato flakes, or potato pearls in a small Ziploc bag. Place the small Ziploc bag into the gallon Ziploc bag. This is enough to feed 3-5 people as a side, depending on how hungry they are. 😊

Rice and potatoes are so simple to prepare, they are wonderful recipes for children to help with! 

Feel free to add yummy extras to your side if you would like. For example, you could add garlic salt, ranch seasoning, or parmesan cheese to your potato pearls or flakes. You could put a chicken bouillon cube or a bay leaf in with your rice. Then, when you cook it later, you’ll have some extra flavor with no extra effort!

Make sure you write directions on how to cook the rice or potatoes on the front of the gallon Ziploc bag (see step #7). Do not write the directions on the small bag since it could get rubbed off.

7. Write directions on the gallon Ziploc bag.

Like we said before, this is actually the first step. It’s easier to write the directions before you prepare the meal because it is difficult to write on the Ziploc when it is full of food.

We include it last because your directions for cooking depend on how you decided to make your freezer meals. Here is all the information you need.

black steel wok

When you are ready to cook your frozen meal, follow these steps:

Separate the main dish from the sides.

Thawed chicken, beef, turkey, and pork takes between 3-4 hours to cook in a crock pot depending on the quantity of meat you use. If your freezer meal is larger, it will take longer to cook. If your meal is still frozen, no problem! Just separate any small Ziploc bags from the rest and plan 2 extra hours for cook time.

Fish tends to cook faster, around 1-2 hours in a crock pot (thawed) or it can be yummy cooked in a pan with butter as well (around 15-20 minutes).

Most varieties of rice cook at a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. That means if you have 2 cups of rice, you will need 4 cups of water. Check on the box or bag to make sure this applies to you.

(How to Cook Rice Over the Stove- When it is time to cook your meal, you will place cold water and rice in a pot (remember, 1:2 ratio of rice to water). Bring the water to a boil. When the water is at a rolling boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the water is completely dissolved and the rice is cooked through. You can also cook your rice in a rice cooker if you prefer that method.)

Potato pearls or flakes are easy to cook. Just add boiling water to the flakes or pearls until you reach a consistency that you enjoy. Some people like a little more or less water. It’s up to you! The potatoes usually need a little more flavor, so I like to add butter, salt, pepper, and garlic to mine. You can add these seasonings before you freeze the meal, or you can add it to the meal as you are cooking.

If you chose to put your veggies in a separate bag, sauté the veggies in a pan with butter or boil the veggies. If you included your veggies in with the meat, they will be added to the crock pot and you won’t have to worry about this step!

That’s a lot to write on a gallon Ziploc bag.

I shorten these directions so that it’s not too much to write. Here is an example of what I wrote on a bag of Mesquite BBQ Chicken:

Mesquite BBQ Chicken with Broccoli and Rice (I always include a title so that I know what I’m eating)

  • Cook chicken in a crock pot (Estimated 4 hours if thawed)
  • Cook the Broccoli separately in boiling water, then sauté in butter (Estimated 15 minutes)
  • Cook the rice separately in 4 cups of water (Estimated 30 minutes)

Here’s one more example:

Ranch Pork Chops with Zucchini and Mashed Potatoes

  • Cook the pork chops and zucchini in a crock pot (Estimated 4 hours if thawed)
  • Boil water. Add boiling water to the potato pearls. (Estimated 15 minutes)

So simple, my husband can follow these directions easily if I’m too tired to cook!

Here’s some examples of freezer meals that my family has enjoyed!

Mesquite BBQ Chicken with Broccoli and Rice

*Ingredients: Mesquite BBQ sauce, chicken legs, onion (included in the sauce and chicken mixture), water, broccoli (separate), rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook chicken in crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), boil broccoli separately   (estimated 15 minutes), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Italian Chicken with Squash and Rice

*Ingredients: Chicken breast, Italian seasoning, chicken broth, squash (included in chicken and seasoning), rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook chicken and squash in crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Salmon Stir Fry over Rice

*Ingredients: Salmon, lemon pepper seasoning, water, frozen stir fry veggies, rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook salmon and frozen stir fry veggies in a sauté pan with butter (estimated 15-20 minutes), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Kung Pao, General Tsao’s, or Orange Chicken Stir Fry over Rice

*Ingredients: Chunks of chicken or turkey, sauce (choose from list above), water, frozen stir fry veggies (included in sauce and meat), can of pineapple chunks, rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook chicken and veggies in crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Ranch Pork Chops, Carrots, Bell Peppers, and Rice

*Ingredients: Pork chops, ranch seasoning packet, water or broth, carrots (included in water and meat), bell peppers (included in water and meat), rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook pork and veggies in crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Steak and Broccoli with Mashed Potatoes

*Ingredients: Steak, seasoned salt, broccoli (separate), potato pearls (separate)

*Directions: Cook steak on the grill (estimated 30 minutes), in a sauté pan (estimated 30 minutes), or a crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), boil broccoli separately (estimated 15 minutes), add boiling water to the potato pearls (estimated 15 minutes)

 

Think about how much time you’ll have with your family now that you won’t be spending hours cooking every night! With all that spare time, try some of these unique indoor activities with your kids!

Enjoy your meals!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

Share with any parent who needs a break from cooking!

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