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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Top Ten Thursday - Life Hacks

Welcome to Top Ten Thursday!




Today we're talking about the Top Ten Everyday Life Hacks!

I can't even tell you how I came up with this topic. I didn't have anything specific in mind that I wanted to share, but I was sure our resourceful group would be coming up with some simple, but effective tricks that make our busy lives easier!




Here are mine:

  1. When life hands you lemons... Ice, ice baby! Plus: Iced water to go, please!
  2. Like your colors separated from your whites? Look no further!
  3. Ice cream scoop vs Meatballs: win/win!
  4. Work once, enjoy twice: Freeze your fluffies!
  5. What do you call a witch at the beach? A sand-witch!
  6. Mise-en-place for food and clothes: putting it all together
  7. Upcycled leftovers
  8. Keep your hands in the air - Hockey Mom's document holder 
  9. Life is too short to search for your shopping cart coin!
  10. Still wrapping your Christmas ornaments for storage? 
  11. Make what makes you happy!
If you think I'm not making any sense, just bear with me, I'll walk you through.

Let me start by handing you lemon juice - not when life decides (not) to give you some - At the very moment you need it!!

How? 

Freeze it! Squeeze your lemons, using a funnel, pour it into your ice cube tray or - what I prefer - into disposable plastic thingies. Depending on what you usually make, you may also mix juice and zest!



Next up is this cool trick I kept seeing in videos and finally, finally got around to trying myself, thanks to this post! The egg divider hack! Crack your egg(s) into a bowl, use a plastic bottle to suck in the yolk, done! It really works!



Speaking of plastic bottles. I always keep one in my freezer, filled about a third with water that turns into ice. Before leaving the house for kids' gym, I fill up the rest with water - Colin loves his iced water. When I was away at the West Coast this spring, he explained to his buddies that unfortunately this time he didn't have any with him. Shoulda just checked the freezer!

One of my favourite kitchen tools is the sorbet scooper. I use it for meatballs, cookies, rice,... I admit, they are not technically "balls", but hey, close enough, and they all end up the same size and shape, plus: no messy, sticky hands!





Let's talk Sunday morning. Who doesn't like a nice stack of fluffy pancakes?

How do you like slaving in the kitchen for it? Not so much, right? 

So when you do make the effort, be sure to have an extra portion of that batter, spend an extra couple of minutes by the stove (you're gonna end up smelly/sweaty anyway, right?) and let those pancakes cool on a wire rack. Then put them in a ziplock bag, with a piece of parchment paper in-between so they don't stick together, and put them - you've guessed right - in the freezer!

When you have that next pancake craving - and we know it won't be long - take them out and put them in a 180°C/355°F preheated oven for 10 minutes! 



Who would have thought I had more kitchen hacks? Here are some for your sandwiches: 
  • For your home made bread dough, substitute regular water with bubbly water, makes for super fluffy bread.
  • Of course you're gonna bake two breads, use one now, freeze one for later!
  • Use reusable, but eventually disposable cake baking pans to get even shapes
  • If you like cucumber in your sandwich but can't seem to cut thin enough slices - use your potato peeler!




Here's another no-brainer, but it really helps to avoid bad surprises like noticing you ran out of an ingredient mid-cooking: The mise-en-place! Meaning to put everything together, ready to use, ahead of time.




BTW, If you have to feed kids, never, ever reveal that there are going to be leftovers for dinner. For some reason that doesn't seem acceptable. Instead slap on some cute decoration and call it "Rat-atouille Pizza", and, ta-daaaa, it's a huge hit!




Back to our mine-en-place; is also applies to clothes and whatever stuff you need to have ready to go the next morning. Do it the night before! I have been struggling with this all my adult life BK (before kids). How was I supposed to know what I was going to feel like wearing? Everything might change overnight, no?

Well, when I went back to work and had to leave the house by 6:30am with an 16 months' old in tow I was literally forced to get everything ready and to just go with it!



Before I left for L.A. I went just a tiny bit OCD and made use of the St. Patrick's Day treasure hunt clue bags and the weekday socks. 




I assigned each color to a day of the week according to the socks and put together an outfit (and a small gift) for Colin. Of course he loved the surprise (and hubby loved having one less thing to do), and de kept asking for his bag long after I returned.



When you have kids you know how all those cute clothes are accumulating and taking up space. If you're anything like me, you know you won't need them anymore, but still can't seem to give them away? Here's your solution: use them to make a quilt blanket! As I can't sew, I had our Christmas Elf do it ;-)




As the hockey season approaches (yay!) I'll have to remember to have my document holder ready. We are usually on a tight schedule and need to shlep a lot of bags, purse, gear, stick, you name it. Digging for your wallet at the entrance, and then again at the skates rental booth, is such a pain when your hands aren't free. 




Then where does the token go that they give you for your deposit? Well, in here:



I wear it around my neck. It also contains the entrance ticket for me, the multiple entry card for Colin, twenty bucks for the deposit for the skates, coins for the parking, an autograph from Pierre-Marc Bouchard... 

I have another one, speaking of coins. Here in Switzerland, supermarket managers got tired of collecting shopping carts that people just abandoned all over the parking lot. They installed a device on each cart. You need to insert a one or two Franc coin in order to release the cart, and you'll get your money back upon returning your cart. Now who has the exact coin handy at all times? This girl!



Businesses give them away as advertising gifts. Nobody needs the gazillionth pen, but those tokens come in really handy! One thing though, one day when I was done shopping and arrived near my car in the parking lot, I was rummaging in my purse, desperately looking for my keys,...

If hockey season is around the corner, Christmas can't be far, right? Haha! Never too early to be prepared, though, right? I love my Christmas ornament divider boxes to neatly and safely store those delicate decoration items!



The last one (and just like this I have slipped you a number 11, did you notice?)  is more of a philosophy than a trick or a hack, but still - whatever works, right?


Thanks to all those recommendations you've saved a lot of time to do what makes you happy!

What things do you do that make your life easier?

Would you like to join us for next week's Top Ten Challenge? The theme is gonna be "Top Ten Italian Foods", (think pasta, pizza, wine), and it posts August 11.

Please sign up here or send me a message!

But wait! Don't leave just yet - visit my fellow Top Ten Bloggers and see what they came up with!

The linky-tool is up, please use it to link up your post!