Wednesday, March 23, 2016

{five favorites} Life Hacks

This whole concept of "hacks" is beyond me but it seems to be an internet phenomenon, so when in Rome....Honestly, they used to just be called good ideas, now they are hacks(????).  Anyway, here are my favorite five.  Linking up with Ashley at Big White Farmhouse.

My Under Desk Peddler--I don't know if that is the official title, but that is what I call it.  It's not that I spend hours online, but I do spend time every day on the computer-researching, writing, organizing the various groups that I run.  Time for exercising is not so easy to come by.  Then one day, I had an epiphany, why not combine them?  So, I got my under desk peddler and now I get to "ride" my bike and keep up with my online commitments.  It's not the same as actually biking, which is one of my favorite activities, but it is a good workout for my legs and abs.  I am peddling as I type this!  I have a very basic model like this one, however, I bought it at the thrift store for only $7!  :)

Cell Phone Call to Prayer-- My dear friend, Dara, dreams of having a large clock in her home that is set to chime specific hours for prayer.  Wonderful idea, but I knew I wasn't getting a grandfather clock anytime soon.  However, it got me thinking, how could I mark the hours?  CELL PHONE ALARM!  It is a fact of modern life that we have these intrusive  smart boxes of communication that society expects us to carry on our person 24/7.  While I am not perpetually attached to my phone, it is in my vicinity most of the day.  So, I set my alarm for 9AM, 12 noon, 3 PM, and 6PM.  I pray the Angelus on those hours, except for 3 Pm when I pray for God's mercy.  I don't get every hour in every day, because there are those times that my phone is left in the car, on the other side of the house or, ahem, out of battery; but it has increased my conscious effort to pray and marks my day with prayer.

Reusable Water Bottle--aka Have Water Will Travel--What do all the health experts always say?  Drink more water.  It is easy to get caught up in the day of kids and school and laundry and dishes.  I have a trick, though.  I refill my bottle whenever I am going to leave the house, bring it in the car and drink it while driving.  No matter how short the trip, I bring my bottle and refill it on the way home.  All of this usually means that I must make a B-line to the ladies' room as soon as we arrive, but it does help me get my water in, so that is the important part.

  Lunch Kit Station--With a busy family it can be tough to keep everyone fed on the go.  I try very hard not to buy food out in order to save money, and make sure everyone is eating healthy meals and snacks.  When we first visited our new house, I knew this set of shelves would be my lunch kit area.  I spent about $35 on stainless steal containers and various sized tins.  Each child has a food thermos and a lunch bag.  At a glance I can tell who hasn't unpacked their bag from the latest adventure.  I also have a couple of wrap-n-mats (really need to get a third one for Little Man) and a stainless steel water bottle for every person in the family.  When we are heading somewhere it is easy for everyone to grab a couple of containers, fill it up with a snack or a meal that I have prepared, put it all in their bag and head out the door.  Yes, it still requires me to cook a meal instead of drive through, but I usually make easy things for travel meals so it would take just as much time to go through a line and buy something.  Having everything in arm's reach and together makes hasty meals easier.  {Today was a busy day so there are things missing that haven't made it back here yet, but you get the idea.}

Prayer--Okay, so this isn't really a hack, but it helps.  It is easy to pray when there are big things going on and major calamities.  But, do you pray about the ordinary, every day occurrence?  Every time I need something (or if I want something to help my family's well being) I pray about it.  I ask God to help me find the best one for us.  I ask Him to provide the means to purchase it.  I also pray that He will guide my decisions and steer me clear of purchases that aren't beneficial or are not keeping with His Will for me.  It may seem silly, but it works.  Almost every time, I find the item in need at a thrift store, receive it as a present, or in some other way it pretty much falls into my lap.  The times I don't, I realize that I really don't need it or am gifted with an idea of how to work around not having that item.  I don't always get what I want, but I am never in need.  I must say that I don't pray for extravagant items or selfish causes.  However, just this morning I prayed for God to provide guidance on my garden purchases which seem to be mounting and I am very frugal.  I know a vegetable garden will benefit my family, but I want to also be a good steward of my funds.  My friend just texted that her sister has a rototiller we can borrow--no rental fee for me!  Thank you, Jesus!  That is money that can go elsewhere.  

Another example from this week, I had been in need of some new shirts.  Really it was a need.  Everything I had for spring either was horribly stained or damaged in some other way.  I try very hard to take care of my clothes but, having a toddler stuck to me all last summer did a number on my shirts.  Also, I lost about 30 lbs over the past 18 months, so many things no longer fit.  I prayed for God to help me in this purchase, to provide good prices, and guide my decisions. Yesterday, my godmother called up and said that she had some things she was clearing out of her closet that she wanted me to get to look through.   I went shopping through her clothes that were in like new condition and now have everything that I need.  There were even some pieces in there that I had wanted but didn't want to splurge on such a purchase because it wasn't like I needed it, I just liked the way it looked.

I'm not saying God is like a fairy godmother granting every wish and command.  There have been plenty of times that I prayed for a long time before finding a solution to my need; and even more times that I learned to do with out and sacrificed what I wanted. The most important part of approaching purchases this way is leaving it in God's Hands and seeking to do His Will not just get more stuff.

So, that's my two cents.  If I could just figure out how to wash dishes while I'm on the computer and do laundry while driving the car, I'd really be on to something! 
How about you?  What life hacks do you have to share?   


  1. I've never heard of an under-desk peddler. Now I want one! Unfortunately, the kids would be all over it, but someday . . .

    1. Carolyn,
      For the first couple of weeks, I did not even get to touch it. However, the novelty wore off and the weather got nicer so they had better things to do. I used reverse psychology also, I told them they could use it whenever they wanted and so of course no one wants to use it...LOL. Thank you for stopping by. Have a blessed Easter!