Seven Sanity Saving Life Hacks

Life Hacks -

As a busy mom, I am always on the hunt for things that help me cut corners and make life a little bit easier. With just a few extra minutes in my day, I might actually be able to drink my entire cup of coffee and read something for my own personal enjoyment….crazy, right? Well it seems that I am not the only one in search of life hacks. A producer from WGN News reached out to me, asking me to share my favorite seven sanity saving life hacks on both my blog and on their morning show on Tuesday, May 24th . So be sure to tune in and save this article so you are prepared when life throws some surprises at you.

Life Hacks - Chilled Wine - - Copy

Life Hack: Chilling a bottle of wine quickly

Time Needed: 10 minutes

When my kids whine, it’s time for mama to break out the wine. And I know I’m not alone. But you know what really stinks? When I forget to put a new bottle in the fridge. But I found a quick and easy way to overcome this problem using simple table salt and ice. All you need to do is place the wine bottle in an ice bucket, and then start filling the bucket with layers of ice and table salt (no need for sea salt, we aren’t trying to be Ina Garten or anything). Keep alternating layers until you get to the top. After ten minutes your bottle will be perfectly chilled and ready to be enjoyed so that you can chill out. You’re welcome.

Life Hacks - ripen an avocado -

Life Hack: Ripening a rock hard avocado

Time Needed: 15-25 minutes

We’ve all been there before…we have grand plans for some delicious guacamole and find that the ones that you picked up from the store are STILL rock hard. Well, there’s a solution for that that you can do in the same time it takes to enjoy a margarita (or two….I won’t judge). Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Wrap the entire avocado in aluminum foil. Place wrapped avocado on a baking sheet and bake from 15-25 minutes (depending on size of avocado). You can tell if it is ready if it yields to firm gentle pressure. Side note: The texture of the avocado will be different than when an avocado ripens naturally. I recommend using this method if you are making a wrap or other dish in which you are cutting the avocado into slices or chunks. If you are using it for guacamole, add a bit more lemon juice or a small amount of mayonnaise to get a smoother texture.

Life Hacks - Crib Sheet Layering -

Life Hack: Preparing for kids’ nighttime accidents

Time needed: 5 minutes

All parents know that there is nothing worse than being woken up in the middle of the night by a screaming kid because they either wet the bed or got sick in bed. Although you may wake up quickly because of parental adrenaline, it can be very overwhelming. So one of the things that I do to prepare for the worst is make my kids’ beds using a waterproof sheet/fitted sheet layering system that allows me to simply strip off one layer of soiled sheets and still have fresh sheets waiting for my sleepy child. Starting with the actual mattress, simply layer a waterproof sheet, a regular fitted sheet, followed by another waterproof sheet and finally one last regular fitted sheet. My boys even tell me that they love how soft all of the layers make their beds, a “win/win” if you ask me!

Life Hacks Pot of Water Boiling Over -

Life Hack: Keeping a pot of water from boiling over with a wooden spoon

Time needed: 1 minute or less

As much as I love to cook, it can be challenging because my kids always want to hang out in the kitchen with me, asking for help with homework, painting, building towers….the list goes on and on. They simply don’t seem to understand that mom is busy, typically working over a hot stove, no less. That’s why I’m so glad I came across this super easy life hack. To avoid having a pot of water boil over (because we all know that is no fun to clean up), simply lay a wooden spoon across the top of the pot. The spoon will pop any bubbles that form too close to the top of the pot so it will never boil over. Side note: Being exposed to such hot temperatures at such a close proximity will most likely warp the wooden spoon, so I recommend using a cheap Dollar Store version.

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Life Hack: Using a pool noodle as a toddler bed rail

Time needed: 5 minutes

With summer season almost upon us, I want to remind you that the pool noodle your kids like to hit each other with can actually come in handy in keeping them safe. Yep, that’s right…you can using a pool noodle for child proofing. There are two ways to do this:  Cut an opening along the entire length of the pool noodle and use this opening to wrap it around a hard surface or corner that you don’t want your child running into OR tuck the pool noodle under the fitted sheet on the edges of your child’s bed to serve as bed rails. Both are extremely easy to do, and at only $1 per pool noodle, it is the perfect way to childproof on a budget.

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Life Hack: Bouncing batteries to tell if they are still good

Time needed: 5 minutes

We go through a TON of batteries in our house, and it can get tricky trying to figure out if a battery still has some electric juice left in it or not. But it doesn’t have to be if you use this life hack. Simply drop the battery (about 6-12 inches) onto a VERY hard surface (a concrete sidewalk is a great option). If the battery simply drops without much movement, it still has some life left in it. If the battery bounces, that is a sign that its energy has expired. Oh, and don’t forget to recycle old batteries at your local Public Works; do NOT throw them in the garbage.

Life Hacks - Walnut on Wood -

Life Hack: Fixing scratched wood using a walnut

Time needed: 5-10 minutes

I’m not going to lie….this life hack is NUTS. Seriously. Who would have thought that my favorite type of nut would help me fix all of the damage my boys do to our house on a continual basis?!? All you have to do is get some shelled walnuts and repeat this process as many times as necessary: Rub walnut in a circular motion over the scratches in the wood. After about a minute or two of this, rub the walnut horizontally and then vertically over the length of the scratch. Wait a few minutes for the oils from the walnut to soak in (perfect opportunity for you to enjoy some of your previously chilled wine along with some of your leftover walnuts), and then polish with a soft cloth. You can repeat this process if necessary, but this walnut trick has always worked on the first try for me.


I really hope this life of seven sanity saving life hacks will not only help you destress, but also allow you to have some much needed time for yourself. Be sure to check out my other “mom hacks” and tips to make life easier for Chicago moms!


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  1. lisa says

    These are great hacks! I don’t think I’ve heard of doing any of these before, but I’m definitely going to remember them and try them.

  2. Chrystal | Nevermore Lane says

    These are great hacks. I have used quite a few of them myself. The wooden spoon when boiling water, the walnut on wood, the avocado trick – all of them are great! I buy a lot of avocados at once, so I dont mind a few that aren’t quite ripe.

  3. Annemarie LeBlanc says

    I did not know about these hacks! Thanks for letting me know. The avocado trick will be very useful. I know sometimes avocados are picked before their time so this hack was nice to know!

  4. Rebecca Swenor says

    These are some really niffy life hacks indeed. I love battery one were you drop the battery to see if it has juice left and the wooden spoon over the boiling water so it does of flow. Thanks for sharing these hacks and I definitely have to bookmark this post.

  5. Melissa Dixon says

    I love life hacks, they really are always making me think, why didn’t I think of that! The spoon trick doesn’t seem to work for me though, I may need a better quality spoon.

    • Amanda says

      My spoon tends to warp a bit if I use it too much with a boiling pot–maybe try swapping it out for a fresh one.

  6. Kathy says

    Thanks for sharing all these. These are great! I’m going to have to try some of these now. That bouncing the batteries one I’ll be trying first. I have tons of batteries at home that I don’t know if they work or not.

  7. Ann Bacciaglia says

    These are great hacks. I will have to try the wooden spoon the next time i boil water. Ripening a rock hard avocado will be a good one to try.

  8. diana says

    The battery hack is such a neat trick. Makes me wonder how many batteries I threw away that still had some juice in them. This is awesome. I definitely going to try this!

  9. Heather lawrence says

    Wait a minute… batteries bounce? I have always been careful not to drop them (guess I believed my dad when he said they would blow up if I dropped them). I wonder how many I tossed too early?!?
    Great tip!

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