Quick tip: Hang your sunglasses

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Over the years I have scratched many of my sunglasses and broken a few.  I have also wasted too much time searching for them while trying to get out the door on time. I don’t buy expensive sunglasses, but I do like to keep the ones I have purchased for as long as possible. I wanted to find a place for my sunglasses that solved some of my problems. A few years ago my husband and I came up with a simple solution: hang your sunglasses to keep them safe and easily accessible. We put hooks underneath a kitchen cabinet that is right by the door we use most frequently. This handy station for sunglasses has continued to be a problem solver for our family.

What about you? Where do you store your sunglasses?

Until next time,

Charissa

5 Things You Can Clean in 5 Minutes

 

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I am too easily overwhelmed. If I walk into my messy kitchen I get discouraged. Piles of clean laundry needing to be folded and stacks of papers that need to be sorted create a similar feeling inside of me. When I actually start and complete a task, though, I am often quite surprised at how much I can accomplish in a short amount of time. Sometimes even 5 minutes can yield a good amount of progress. Below I have listed 5 things you can clean in 5 minutes. Take a look!

1) Your nightstand (or top dresser drawer). My nightstand holds a few books, some lotion, a lamp and a basket of odds and ends. Too often a few odds and ends become a large number of odds and ends. 5 minutes is just the right amount of time to return items to their proper home, maybe give a quick dust and straighten the book stack. An organized nightstand is a soothing sight for tired eyes!

2) Your purse. How in the world do purses gather so much extra junk? (Or maybe it’s just me?!) Gum wrappers, receipts and random papers seem to be the types of things that are generally found in the extra pockets and bottom of my purse. 5 minutes can change all of that! I think this is a practice I need to incorporate into my weekly (or daily?) routine.

3) Your makeup bag. This is one of those areas that is easy to ignore but important to clean out every once in awhile. And guess what? 5 minutes should be all you need. Dump expired products and pass along or toss things you are no longer using.

4) Your microwave. This is one of those tasks that can seem overwhelming but isn’t so bad once you get into it. Heat a bowl of water in your microwave for about 60 seconds, and then wipe down the inside. A microwave that has been ignored for months might take a little more time and elbow grease. I have found that using a microwave spatter cover like the one shown below (and encouraging others to do so) makes major cleanings a thing of the past. 5 minute touch ups can do the trick if we all remember to use this cover.

5) Your magazine bin or basket.  Magazines and catalogs can quickly pile up. Take 5 minutes and sort through your basket. Recycle catalogs and magazines; you might even pass along a few of your magazines to a friend or neighbor.

Do you have 5 minutes? Choose one of these things to clean today! You’ll be surprised how good it feels!

What about you? Which cleaning tasks take you much less time than expected?

Until next time,

Charissa

(This post contains an affiliate link, so thenotsobusymom receives a very small commission if you make a purchase through this link.)

5 Reasons to Meal Plan

Meal planning is one of those topics that either excites or agitates people.  I fall into the first category of people. I can’t say that the actual act of meal planning makes my heart flutter, but it does put a smile on my face once it is done. It certainly makes me happy as the week progresses and the plan is in place. Meal planning has made a big difference in my life.  Here are my top 5 reasons you should meal plan.

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  1. It saves you time.  Who wants to spend the good part of your Saturday morning wandering around the grocery store trying to figure out what you are going to feed your family for the next week? Who wants to go to the store almost every afternoon in search of the necessary items for that night’s meal? Who wants to stare into the cupboards each evening hoping some meal idea pops into your head? Our time is precious, and meal planning saves time. Taking the 15 to 20 minutes to meal plan each week will save you hours that might be wasted wandering the store on a Saturday morning, rushing to the store each afternoon or staring at your cupboard each evening.
  2. It saves you money.  If you don’t have a plan then you aren’t focused when shopping for the week. You pick up more items than you need. You forget to buy something, return to the store later and get that forgotten item plus a few more (expensive) extras. Lack of a meal plan can also result in calling for expensive take out which equals a hit to your wallet once again. Meal planning saves you money because you have a focused purpose when shopping, you have the items you need for each night’s meal, and you aren’t calling for take out in a moment of desperation.
  3. It saves your sanity.
    Trying to come up with a meal idea each night is exhausting. We’re often tired, the kids might be cranky, and everyone is hungry. It’s not an ideal time to make a decision about a dinner choice. Meal planning ahead of time allows you the opportunity to carefully consider your calendar, your food options and your needs for the week.
  4. It makes grocery shopping easier.
    When you have a meal plan you can create an organized shopping list. When you have an organized shopping list you can shop with ease.  Grocery shopping is not one of my favorite tasks, but meal planning has made a not-so-favorite task more bearable.
  5. It brings health and variety to your meals.  I don’t believe every meal has to be complicated or fancy. In fact, I am a strong supporter of the simple meal. A meal plan allows the opportunity to think through your choices for the week and choose a variety of foods that are tasty and healthy and good for your family. You can also plan ahead for surprise ice cream sundaes on an ordinary Thursday night!

I am such a big fan of meal planning, and it’s a favorite topic of mine.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. I believe that if you start making it a part of your weekly routine you will be happy about the time, money and sanity you save and about how much easier and healthier your grocery shopping will be.

I plan to do an upcoming post on how I meal plan, but for now I want to know, what about you? Are you a meal planner?  If you are not meal planning now, what are your hesitations?

Until next time,

 Charissa

 

5 Ways to Pray Throughout the Day

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When I was growing up I would usually wake to find my mom reading her Bible and praying each morning. Seeing her that way was so familiar and comforting. I, too, have always liked the idea of rising early and spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. There have been various seasons of my life when this has worked out very well; in others, an early wake time has just not been possible. I have found myself in one of these seasons again because of my early rising 3 year old. I desire to get up early (before my children), but there is (for me) a “too early”. Prayer and time with the Lord is a priority, but I know I need a certain amount of sleep, too. My early rising child has made the early time alone with God more challenging. I have been thinking about and implementing creative ways to pray throughout the day as I do life.

Here are 5 of my favorite ways to pray throughout the day:

  1. Text or email a prayer to a friend or family member. It’s common to pass along the phrase, “I’m praying for you”. What if instead you chose to write out the prayer for that person? It doesn’t have to be long or fancy. Just include a line or two of prayer and hit the send button.
  2. Place prayer bookmarks in some of the books you are reading. I create lists of names of people for whom I want to pray, and pop the lists in the books I am reading. When I open up the book and see the bookmark I stop and pray for the list of people before reading.
  3. Create a prayer list or journal and keep it in your purse or car. This is a practice I am hoping to establish this year. Many years ago I created a small poster with the names of close family and friends. I hung this poster in my closet, and it was a reminder to pray for these special people. Similarly, keeping a list of people and requests in a purse or car is a great way to encourage prayer during unusual blocks of time throughout the day (like waiting in the pick up line or sitting in a waiting room).
  4. Pray over your children while they are sleeping. I am a big fan of praying with your kids, but I also like to pray over my children as they sleep. I check on my children before I head to bed and find that it is a great time to kneel beside a bed and pray for them. I can pray for those things that I might not be as comfortable praying about with them. It’s a beautiful moment.
  5. Do the alphabet prayer.  This type of praying can happen anytime throughout the day. I use it when I am struggling to fall asleep. I start with “A” and think of someone I know who has a name beginning with that letter. I say a quick prayer for them and then move to the next letter.  This is a unique way to pray, and I am normally asleep by “L”, so it’s a good sleeping tool, too!

I hope you have found a tip or two here that encourages you to pray throughout your day.

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

What about you?  How do you pray throughout your day?

Until next time,

~Charissa

Quick Tip: Use a timer to keep yourself from running late

quicktiptimer1Prior to being a mom I was quite good at getting myself to appointments, meetings, and events on time. With the addition of each child I found myself running just a few minutes late and this newfound habit was troubling me. My current solution? Use a timer to keep me on track. Usually 45 minutes to 1.5 hours before leaving for an appointment, event or just a simple gathering, I will set my kitchen timer. I determine what time I want to be in the car with all three children settled into their seats and set the necessary time needed between the current time and the “everyone’s in their seats ready to go” time. The kitchen timer is the best option for me because it is centrally located, and I can check it as I do a quick clean up, get my youngest dressed, and complete any other last minute tasks. This one simple act of setting my timer has brought me back to a place of being on time, and that makes me happy!

What about you?  What do you do to make sure you are on time?

Until next time,

Charissa