How can things run more efficiently?
Life is busy, sometimes too busy.  The more people, schedules, sports and classes involved, the more hectic things can get.

Everyone chips in.
We all can use a little more calmness in life. Here are some ideas that will hopefully make things run a little easier for you and your family.

Cook several meals, all in one shot. For example, if you are grilling, cook a couple of meals at once. This will save time later in the week. Or, if you are making lasagna, making two creates the same amount of mess as making one. You could cook one after making them and freeze the other.  Later in the week just pull it out of the refrigerator, reheat, and you are good to go!

Have a schedule (a.k.a. a routine) for the day. Children need structure in their lives.
By doing the same things each day, life becomes a little easier on everyone.

Assign seats at the dinner table and in the car. Having assigned seats cuts down on the fighting of who is going to sit where.

Provide “Thank You” portions. When the kids say “I don’t like…” referring to the food being served at meal time, give them an extra “Thank You” helping of what ever it is they “do not like.” Be sure to make them eat their extra portion and soon they will not be complaining about what is served.
- Laureen W.

Give the kids chores to do. This will ease the burden on the parents and the children should chip in with maintaining the house.

Freeze Go-gurts yogurts for the kids to eat. This will help keep the mess down since the yogurt will not be as runny.

When going to a busy place like a theme park, dress the kids all in the same BRIGHT color shirts. We had gotten these bright yellow shirts from bible school for the kids. These things glow in the dark, but, they sure are easy to spot anywhere! Normal colors get lost easily in the crowd.

Do not share food and drinks when someone is sick in the house. This one may seem obvious, but a little reminder never hurts. Also consider using paper products and promptly throw them in the trash to minimize the risk of germs being spread.

Keep feeding the family fruits and veggies year round. This helps reduce people getting sick. Also talk to your doctor about using vitamins in your house.

You might be able to stop Spiderman...well, maybe not Spiderman, but little ones who can scale their way out of a crib or pack-n-play have a harder time escaping when they have socks (without traction) on their feet.

Teach your toddlers sign language. They can learn sign language even before they can speak. This helps reduce tantrums as they can communicate what they want. We use the Signing Time DVDs. The kids love them and it does help things run smoother.

Purchase socks that have colored toes. This makes mating very easy.

Setup the laundry room / closet to reduce clothes being scattered throughout the house. When we built our laundry room, we built a cubbie system in it that holds all of the kids clothes. With all of their clothes being kept in the laundry room, there are not any clothes scattered throughout the rest of the house.

If you are SO lucky to have a child who gets out of her zipper pajamas with the cute feet and then takes her diaper off...cut off the feet (yes, of the pajamas) and zip them up backwards.

Get ready, get set, GO...It's time for Diaper Rodeo! To make diaper changes more fun, race to see how fast you can change that diaper. If two diapers need to be changed and your spouse thinks she/he is the supreme diaper changer of all time, race for the title in the Diaper Rodeo!

Revoking the "Cool Card" A friend of ours had to revoke her son's cool card because he was not focusing on his school work like he should have been. Being that he goes to public school, where many kids are fashion conscious, the revocation of his cool card came in the form of him losing his stylish wardrobe to khaki pants and a white polo shirt. Once his cool card was revoked, his grades went back up. Find your kid's "cool card" and if needed, revoke it.

Cut down on junk mail by opting out. You can greatly reduce the number of those "pre-approved" credit junk mailings by opting out. This will also help reduce the amount of stuff that should be shredded prior to getting tossed in the trash.

One in, Two out. Each time your child brings home a new toy, donate two from the existing group of toys. This will help reduce the clutter around the house and make it easier to clean up. For more information about how to de-clutter your house, check out Abby Sasscer's e-Book Simplifying Your Domestic Church.

Keep apple slices looking yummy by sprinkling vitamin C powder on them. This delays the slices from turning brown after they are cut.

If you have some tips you would like to share, please post them in The Missing Sock Blog or
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Many hands make light work. -John Heywood