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Taking shortcuts, being present, and a “Ring Toss Game”

I love figuring out shortcuts in my life.  Not when it matters most (like balancing my checkbook, a phone call with my mom, etc.)…but if I can find a faster way to run errands, scrub the bathroom, or buy groceries…I’m all over it.  When my husband Steve and I are in the car and he is driving, it used to drive me NUTS when he would take a turn that ended up being the “long way”.  In my brain, I have the roads mapped out and have visualized the best way to get from point A to point B without having to wait at lights or take a left hand turn across traffic, etc.  However, I have learned that arriving at our destination 30 seconds slower isn’t going to ruin my life…so I’ve learned to just keep it inside my head and let him drive.  Ack!  However, I still have this tendency to want to find a shortcut in other aspects of my day.  And as I watch my kids grow faster and faster (no matter how many times I tell them not to…), I’m realizing how much I value my time with them.  This means, figuring out shortcuts are on overdrive these days, so I can be more present.  Because, yes, I’d much rather spend time playing hair salon and star wars, than folding laundry. 

I was contacted by Dixie® about their Be More Here campaign and I loved everything about their push for spending more QUALITY time with family and friends.  I know it’s absolutely impossible to set aside every other responsibility I have to tend to during my day…but it got me thinking about what I am doing to increase the quality of time with my little family.

One thing that I completely unashamed to admit is that I love taking shortcuts on dinner prep and cleanup.  My husband Steve leaves for work before the kiddos wake up and then he gets home about 6 and the kids are in bed by 8.  So those 2 hours while he’s here are pretty valuable to me.  Here come the shortcuts.  Some nights I cook more labor intensive recipes (because we all love yummy flavored food in this house!) but sometimes I throw together the best managed super fast meal that I can!  And then my favorite way to save time in our evening hours is by using paper products.  It makes cleanup a BREEZE!  (And by that time of night, I’m so done with cleaning up. I just want to enjoy these little people around me!)

Dixie sent me some of their plates to test out (like I didn’t already have some in my pantry…ha!) and of course, these are a definite winner in our home!


They are sturdy enough for even little hands to load up with food…


….and then carry over to the table unassisted.  That curved lip saves us every time Chloe carries her plate to and from the table.  (Any momma will agree with me that one less spill to clean up is a HUGE deal!)


Another thing…I know the hot dogs on those plates aren’t going to soak through these plates but have you ever tried serving spaghetti on a flimsy paper plate?  Yeah, no bueno.  Save yourself some time, take a shortcut, and try out Dixie.  That way you’re not cleaning up spills when your 4 year old carries her soggy spaghetti plate over to the trash and it collapses.


Also, I know there are all sorts of ways to spend more quality time with family, but taking shortcuts on chores is one of my ways.  And who knows, maybe one day when my kids are grown, I’ll enjoy doing all of these extra chores.  But probably not, because…GRANDKIDS! :)

Something that I like to do with my “saved” time is making things with my kids.  They love when I shout from the other room, “hey guys, wanna make a project?!”  They come running, every time.  So the other day, we decided to cut up some of these Dixie plates that we were given and created a really fun game of “Paper Plate Ring Toss”.



First, we cut out circles in the centers of some plates.


Then, they each painted some “rings”. (We used acrylic paint. It’s cheap, cleanup is easy, and it dries pretty quickly.)


Then, I hot glued an old paper towel tube to the bottom of another paper plate….and painted that too.


Once all were dry, we had a nice collection of rings to start tossing.


And honestly it kinda surprised me how much fun Elli (8), Connor (7), and Chloe (4), actually had with this game.  I had them stand at one end of the table and toss to the base that was at the other end of the table (this way, they can’t get too close and cheat).


They tossed and tossed and shrieked….and tossed some more!  I had so much fun playing and competing with them (I had to stand back further) and when we had to stop and get lunch ready, they were begging for just a few more tosses.  Definitely something you all you should try with your little ones! :)


I’m not saying that just because we use paper plates, we have gobs of extra time to play/chat/relax as a family.  But I really do feel like finding little shortcuts (or even letting some of the little things go), I’m able to be more present while my kiddos are growing and changing.  Because we all know they’ll only “need” their momma for so long.



P.S. Check out how other families are trying to be more present for the moments that matter most in life, here.


Compensation for this post was provided by Dixie via AOL Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Dixie or AOL.


Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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