In my last post, I promised to share some new idea finds that have made my life simpler–and are “sticking!”
1. SIMPLE AND QUICK APPETIZER—Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato Skewers.
I chose this appetizer to bring to a dinner party this past weekend because of the busy day leading up to the event, not leaving much prep time. This alternative version to Caprese Salad was easy to shop for and prepare. Target had the correct size mozzarella balls, and of course fresh basil and good cherry tomatoes are a must.
Recipe: Layer fresh Mozzarella balls, basil and cherry tomatoes on a toothpick. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar if you choose.
Why this is simplifies your life: can anyone say three ingredients?
2. CHORE APP–no more nagging
I love this. A friend was sharing with me how this app was working for their family–tracking and organizing chores. I wasn’t sure how effective it would prove for our family–mainly because this chore tracker pays kids for chores, which we have not traditionally done (we have been in the camp of “chores are part of contributing for the family–allowance is what we give you to help you learn to manage your money.”). However, our kids are all older now and have lived through many years of teaching in that mindset, so giving this new idea a try seemed worth it.
The app, called ALLOWANCE AND CHORES BOT allows you to input each child, the chores you would like them to do, the amount they will get paid for, and individual schedules for the week. All the kids then get the app on their phones, and it gives daily reminders and schedules. As the parent, I can “ignore” chores that are not done and there is no pay, or “approve” chores once complete. We have been using this for about a month and a half now, and while it requires me to daily open the app and approve chores, it is keeping everyone on a system without me reminding–that’s the best part.
Why this simplifies your life: we all use technology–keeps it all on one place for the whole family, and NO NAGGING.
3. FRIDAY CEREAL
This is for all moms who want to simplify their morning routine with kids. Years ago when our children were younger, we started having issues with cereal. I would buy healthier versions of cereal and then have one “fun (unhealthy)” cereal in the pantry, but of course everyone wanted the unhealthy cereal every day. I couldn’t keep track of which child had had what cereal when, there was arguing, pleading, begging….all the pre-cursors to unleashing 7:00 AM crazy mom. So, I gave it some thought and the next week I introduced “Friday Cereal” to the family. I explained that every Friday the kids could have whatever chocolaty, sugary cereal they wanted, but the other six days of the week they had to make a healthier breakfast choice. All agreed–no one likes crazy mom–so we began. I wasn’t sure this would “stick” but we still use this system in our house ten years later.
Why this simplifies your life: whether it’s cereal or something else, it takes the one daily decision off your plate and gives it a predictable system.
4. CASH BUDGET
This is an example of a system that should stick–because it is so helpful to staying within your budget–but often doesn’t because of the discipline and perseverance it requires. I mentioned in my post about Our Year Of The No that we were going back to a cash budget after going on and off over the years. After counting cash and sorting envelopes now for almost two months, I can say it hurts so good. It’s like being on a diet…the “financial weigh in” at the beginning of next month will feel so satisfying, but the daily discipline and denial takes patience and big picture thinking. I will post more on my daily learnings of cash budgeting soon.
Why this simplifies your life: the clarity in physical cash takes all the stress and guesswork out of finances–I know at all times how much I have to last me until the end of the month.
Hopefully these ideas meet some “system” need you have in your life. If these don’t stick, don’t worry–they were just not the right fit for what you needed.