Kids sick? So many people to call… 2 tips to mange this better

Last year the kids were sick more than 10 times. With my eldest taking a special needs bus to  school, childcare, therapists appointments and carers that help, every time she gets sick we would need to inform about 3-4 people depending on the day. The first few times we would forget and this would mean particular people suffered a financial loss.

We are very thankful that there are so many people in her life but if we didn’t call by a certain time the normal morning routine gets in the way and I kept forgetting to tell the right people on time.

Tip #1: use an app to send group email/sms

I’ve finally found an app that allows me to set up email and/Sms templates to set groups of people. I can create a generic message such as:

“Hi <name> is sick today so won’t be coming in. Hope you have a good day! Thanks <signed parents>”

I can then save this to be sent to different groups of people for the diff days.

Naming the template with the day and location helped me to quickly identify which one I needed to send.

No more trolling through my contacts and missing the one person.
Now when she is sick with a few clicks I can notify her bus driver, school, teacher, carer, therapist and of course my boss all at once.

Unfortunately I can’t link the app that I used here as my phone has since upgraded and it no longer works. There are a number of different apps if you search for ‘group sms email’ that allows you to create templates.

Thankfully, this year is much simpler in terms of carers, school and appointments, so this is no longer needed. Instead of we have gone low tech using a summary sheet of emergency numbers on the fridge and on speed dial on the phone. So whilst, this may not be needed for every family, it’s a great tip for when you need it.

Tip #2: group emergency contacts

Grouping all the numbers you might need in a particular emergency is the best way to be able to use it at a moments notice.

In particular we have a home doctor service that always asks the same information, I keep that all summarised on our emergency contact list. This allows us to easily access it when on the phone, attempting to book a doctor.

Small time savers make the difference. What’s your time saver?

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Pro tip: the simplest way to clean chia seeds

When we heard chia was a superfood, high in omega 3 and  great for the brain, we jumped on the band wagon and put in my daughters oats every  morning. Combined with reflux and our “normal” regular periods of congestion resulting in bringing up the contents of her stomach, we had quite a lot of laundry to do where chia seeds were involved. Now if you have used chia seeds before you would know one of their wonderful properties is to swell up and expand, thinking whatever liquid it is in. Often I. Recipes they will have a step to personal chia before use. However when chia is combined with linen, it would take ages to rinse every little seed from it before putting it in the wash. If we missed a few, it wouldn’t wash out instead be spread to all other items of laundry. 
After a few years, we got better at dealing with the frequent vomits, we started using tissues more often because you can simply throw it out. We became expert vomit catchers, stationing empty bowls and cups within arms reach for quick deployment over the mouth. But this didn’t solve the issue of chia from the odd cough vomit in bed. Chia was starting to become the bane of my existence. Until one day I discovered a better way! 


Enter the humble dish washing brush! We never used these growing up washing the dishes and I knew some people do. I had received one with my food processor and found it was great to quickly get food scraps off the different parts of it before soaping it up with the sponge and rinsing. So one day I thought I would apply this to the chia and it worked! In a few seconds I was able to brush off all the chia seeds. Ready to wash. 

Life changing… I’m keen to hear any other tips/ hacks you have found. 

I hope by sharing this small  change in my life it might make it that little bit easier with the small things someone else’s life and make it just that little bit easier for us to focus on the bigger things in life. For super needs mums we need all the help we can get. 

Recipe: quick one pot spaghetti bolognaise

Spaghetti bolognaise is the first dish my mum taught me to make from scratch when I first moved out of home, so it’s one of the few dishes that I can do without a recipe and know how to adjust. Normally it’s on the stove but with the addition of two expensive appliances in my kitchen this year, and with two hungry kids needing some dinner I thought I’d try my hand in some shortcuts “just to see” if it was faster. Normally I would cut the veggies by hand but I’ve found my 3 year old is very good a picking them out of her food, so I thought I would try blending the veggies this time.

Ingredients

2 carrots

2 zucchinis

1 capsicum

1 onion

4 knobs of garlic (I actually didn’t have this but it would have added a LOT more flavour)

2 cans of tomatoes

1 can of tomato paste

2 Tbsp virgin cold pressed coconut oil (or your preferred cooking oil)

500g beef mince

500g penne pasta (or any other type of pasta)

1 Tbsp oregano

1 Tbsp basil

1 Tbsp parsley

1 Tbsp of sugar

Salt

pepper

Materials

Vitamix – or any blender/food processor

Instant pot/pressure cooker

Wooden spatula

Method

  • Wash and cut ends off veggies and pop them straight into the Vitamix
  • Add 2 cans of organic tomatoes, 1 can of organic tomato paste
  • Blend on speed 1 for 10 seconds using the tamper, turn up to speed 3 and pulse to desired consistency. [optional: add a little more water and then turn up to speed 10 for 6 min and use it to heat up the sauce]
  • Salt and pepper the mince
  • Turn on the pressure cooker to the stir fry setting and add the coconut oil before it heats up
  • Stir fry the mince for 5-10min or until mostly browned.
  • Add the blended sauce and stir through
  • Add herbs of your choice – I used oregano, basil and parsley. Note: the quantities are approximate, you can adjust this to taste.
  • Fill the Vitamix jug half way with water (approx 4 cups) and pour it in the used tomato tins swirl then pour it back in the jug. Pour the resulting tomato juice into the pressure cooker pot.
  • Add 500g pasta and stir, ensuring the sauce covers the pasta.
  • Put the lid on the pressure cooker and set to high pressure for 13 min for al dente (for a lower glycaemic index) or 15min for softer pasta.

     

    Serves approx. 8 people

    Total preparation time: 10-15min

    Cooking time: 13min

    Total time from fridge to plate: 25-30min

     

    The verdict

    I stopped the cooker after 13 min and let the steam out and the pasta turned out to be al dente. However, if you prefer a softer pasta, you can try it for 15-20min instead.

    For my first attempt I left out the sugar, so it was a little sour.

    Was it faster? Possibly.

    Was it easier? Definitely.

    Would I do it again? Definitely.

     What are your super quick go to recipes? If you have any great time-saving tips in the kitchen then I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment below.

Life hack: labels for charging station

I’ve been through a few different version of charging stations after seeing pretty boxes that hide a plethora of cables and power boards exposing only the cables you need. 

While it looks nice on pintrist, in reality we simply plug in what we need when we need it. My husband likes to unplug things that are not being used so after a few days the cables get mixed up. We also have   a few iPhones in the house so often times I’ve plugged in my phone expecting it to charge only to find in the morning that I’ve plugged it into the wrong charger! 

So here’s the latest version of my “charging station”:

  • Power board is easily accessible at desk level. No more running over cables on the floor. 
  • All the cables are labelled on both ends so you can easily match up the right plug with the right charger. I’ve even had to use colour and letters for duplicate cables types. 
  • 3M cable holders help hold the cables that are not being used and all the excess cabling is hidden under the desk 

Simple but it works. I’ve had this set up for a few months now and so far so good.