Mom Hacks: lunch prep, the BEST mascara, and kids art storage
I always like to think about the tricks that make being a do-it-all mom a little easier. As soon as I posted my last post, I thought of SO many more. So I am sharing some of them today. Make sure you read to the bottom because I saved the best for last.
Prep kids lunches on Sundays
I know a lot of people that meal plan. It’s like a whole movement. I’m still trying to focus on packing lunches for the kids and maybe for us as well. Lawyers like to lunch, but lawyers who are parents are always trying to save money and save time by eating at their desks! I don’t plan out every last detail but I am better if I have a few things together on Sunday nights.
First, we generally plan. Are we sending mac and cheese? If so we should make some to get it out of the way. Are we sending sandwiches? We can prep a few of those as well. Do we have leftover pizza? Let's bag those up so it doesn't just sit in the fridge all week. Do we need one more bonus trip to the grocery store?
Then we cut the fruits and veggies. Usually we do this contemporaneously with preparing dinner since we already have knives and cutting boards out.
I always try to pack a veggie with everyone’s lunch, which is harder than it sounds. The kids have cut up things that they like and we prefer some kind of salad and maybe a sandwich or fruit to go with it. I just use bagged lettuce or salad. I’m over chopping romaine to have it turn brown in 22 hours. Sometimes I bake an entire family pack of chicken breasts on Sunday and dice them up for the week. It certainly makes life a little easier.
Next we divy them up into containers and make room for them in the fridge.
I generally try to use reusable stuff and think about planet earth. However I do buy some items that I can throw away just in case one of them gets moldy and gross. In the photo above I had myself all prepped on a Sunday night.
I also just figured out, like just this year, that I can heat up chicken nuggets and toss them in a thermos with a paper towel? Um, hello?!? Why did it take me five years of packing lunches to just learn this trick? My kids love chicken nuggets. We use this thermos for each of the kids and it’s been great.
Mascara that doesn't flake!
I spent FAR TOO MANY mornings driving to work with a flake of mascara already in my eye making my contact lenses unbearable before even taking a single phone call. For YEARS I reasoned that drug store mascara was just fine because it all must be the same. Why pay more for mascara when it can't possibly be that different?
I was so wrong. After nearly running off the road one day chasing after a fleck of mascara in my right contact lens, I decided that I had enough.
Back when I got married (a LONG time ago now) it was recommended to me by the good folks at the Nordstrom makeup counter to use Diorshow Mascara. As a 26 year old, this seemed pricey for mascara. I wore it on my wedding day and it was great. Then I forgot about it for a decade.
I started using it again this year because I was tired of flaky drugstore mascara and I was tired of buying said mascara every month. THIS TIME around I also got their primer which I LOVE. One mascara lasts me SIX months. I am actually saving money by purchasing a better and more expensive mascara. I have been using the same primer for NINE months now.
Here are the things I love about this mascara combo: 1) it makes my lashes look long, thick, and black (always a top consideration); 2) they look better than they ever did with the drugstore stuff; and 3) it stays on ALLLLLL day with out flaking! Seriously! I even have worked out and then showered off without washing my hair or face and it STAYED ON! (Gross, I know ... I was in a hurry and I used dry shampoo I talked about it here.)
Here is a photo of me attempting to take a photo of the primer :) It's hard to see because it's white and dries clear.
aaaand here is a photo of me with the primer and mascara on in my office at the END of the work day. (This was taken during the work week following our Vegas trip - where Becky and I left it all out on the field - so please note that the bags under my eyes/condition of my face/condition of my life were hard earned and well deserved.)
Dermatologists everywhere, settle down. I realize there is work for you in years forthcoming.
FYI I do not use the waterproof kind. Way back when I was a bride-to-be they told me at Nordstrom that I did not need it and that the regular mascara was better. Like I mentioned, I often work out or run after a client meeting and I have no worries about this stuff coming off.
In the photo below I had been wearing it for over 14 hours straight. I put it on around lunch eastern time, I packed up and flew to Vegas, then we went out to a bar. No freshening up. I was showing Becky that it was past 2:30am "home time". Bottom line: it was insanely late for two moms to be out roaming Las Vegas and my mascara was not flaking or smearing at all. Becky is the sweetest mom ever by the way, and just the most fun friend and adorable human. Hi Becky!
Diorshow Lash Extension. It is the real deal.
Child’s art storage!
This is my favorite hack of all time!
Ever since Cameron started preschool he has been bringing home these lovely art treasures. For four years I tried to cram these babies into a binder. I was WILDLY unsuccessful. First of all they don't fit. Second, all kinds of glitter and preschool paraphernalia is shedding from them. Third, I hated this process so much because I had to get a big, messy, glittery, shedding binder off the shelf and stuff a work of art into it which was just so overwhelming to me that I let them stack up on a desk in my office.
I began to dread these works of art coming through the door. That is no way to be! These are memories I will someday cherish when I am in a rocking chair in assisted living.
So one day when I was working from home, lamenting my inability to reconcile my type-A personality with this art-mess situation, I had an epiphany.
In my regular life I am a lawyer. My office is full of these brown accordion files with pages and pages of client material on them. I looked around and it was like a lightbulb. I CAN USE THE ACCORDION FILES FOR NON-LAWYER THINGS!
THEY SELL THEM ONLINE!! HERE!!
So I linked to the letter size: here.
I prefer legal sized, because of course I do. No, really, I do because they hold all those oddly sized art projects that are so much more than just a regular sized piece of paper.
Regular paper sizes are easy. I toss those in a sheet protector and into a three ring binder for each grade level. Type A, guilty as charged. You can see my binders on a shelf below - free from the glitter and glue stick treasures.
I also use these babies for family photos. I had them in a bin previously which was just a mess. Now they fit neatly on the shelf next to the art treasures.
So there it is for you. It is my favorite mom hack because it has cleaned up so much of the art mess that we had for so long. We actually stored Cameron's preschool art in a box for about five years until I finally went through it all and put it in an accordion file over the holidays. It feels so much better to have it neat, organized, and on a shelf.
How about you? Any hacks I should know about? I certainly have more but they will have to wait for another day. Have a great weekend!