20 (In)Genius Healthy Living Tricks…and one wacky one

by Charlotte on October 22, 2012 · 19 comments

This weekend we took the kids “camping” “up north” for their school break and now I’m so tired I can’t see straight. But how awesome is this family pic? (Taken by Gym Buddy Allison) Check out my middle son – it’s like Guy Fawkes’ childhood picture surfaced. This will officially be known as the year I couldn’t get one single picture with no one making a face. 

The “snot freezing index” was one of the first tips I learned when we first moved to Minneapolis. Basically it means that you can officially say it’s cold here when your boogers freeze while still inside your nostrils. It’s a strange (crinkly) feeling but not as weird as the first time I went running here in the winter and came home with my eyelashes frozen together at the corners. (Freaky fact: The average winter temperature of Minnesota is lower than that of Alaska. These cheeky Norwegians won’t tell you that but there’s a reason all the buildings are connected by “skyways” – you can walk all over downtown without setting foot outside. Although rat-in-maze dreams will haunt you.) But the best Minneapolis weather tip I got was when my neighbor told me to ignore the tornado sirens since they go off for everything from thunderstorms to high winds. According to her, only noobs hit the basement when the sirens blare. The real way to tell if a tornado is imminent? The sky turns pea green.

If it’s one thing I’ve learned from moving as much as I have it’s that it’s the little tips, tricks and hacks like these that make life not only better but more fun. So when I recently came across this Tumblr 99 Life Hacks to Make Your Life Easier, I was on it like Tom Cruise in a couch factory. I’m not sure if this girl made all these up or just gathered them from the corners of the interwebs but they are awesome. There were only a few that made me scratch my head. (Like the colored pencil organizer. Who has so many colored pencils they need to organize them? Who even owns colored pencils unless they’re an artist or the mother of an elementary school child??). Anyhow, I culled the best healthy living tips from the 99 for you guys. And one that’s just… weird.

Sure you could buy those fancy waterbottles with the removable freezer cores. Or you could just do this. (Or, if you live in Minnesota, just leave your water bottle in the car. I pretend that it’s so cold it also freezes the bacteria out too!)

First, this is kind of brilliant, right? Second, my fridge is not this clean. I’m afraid if I took a pic of my fridge, I’d spend my whole shopping trip crying over spilt milk (literally).

Having just watched my husband hit his finger with a hammer (while helping me hang sparkly gem lights in our living room in my latest attempt to make it look less like a Gymboree and more like… a Gymboree envisoned by IKEA) I can appreciate this one.

Great for messy kids and slow eaters like me. Works great for ice cream cones too!

Confession: I didn’t even realize headphones had a left and a right until about 10 minutes ago.

Seriously, how have I lived all my life and not known this?! Next strawberry season I’m stocking up on straws!

With the explosion of muffin/protein brownie/sugar-free cupcake in a mug recipes on healthy living blogs, how cool is to have the basic proportions and directions laid out?

I am currently sporting a massive bruise on my left hip from walking into a chest press machine. It probably would have hurt less if I’d iced it. Besides, you’ve heard sponges aren’t good for cleaning right? (Ack, bacteria proliferation chamber!)

Oooh hairy corn is my pet peeve!!

Aw, how cute are these?! Best use of a tennis ball ever! (And yes I’m including tennis in that.)

I can’t tell you how many times as the gym we’ve wished we had a speaker for our phones so we could listen to the workout explanation, er, show each other silly YouTube videos…

Um, mind blown. That’s all.

Just this weekend I had a whole bag of unsweetened coconut shreds dump out all over the counter. This would have saved me. (And also saved me from scrounging for twist ties or rubberbands.) Chopped nuts, chia seeds, flax, the options are endless! Plus, you’re recycling!

As a girl whose last apartment had no less than 4 flights of stairs between the parking lot and the kitchen, I really wish I’d known this before. Do you think it works for 50 pounds of toddler too?

Best use ever for Gatorade!

Works well for the gym too! Especially for those girls who keep their spare cash in their bras. Now you don’t have to hand the barrista a soggy $5!

Make your own tortilla bowls and way healthier than the kind you buy at the store!

This also works for cutting hard boiled eggs! And when you’re done, might as well floss your teeth too and kill two healthy birds with one stone. (Oooh that didn’t come out right?)

Used this trick tonight when boiling a pot of beans! It works!

Aw, I don’t usually eat bagels (nothing against them, just not my thing) but this is SO CUTE. Although I don’t know that people really have a problem with their bagels getting squished, do they?

AND: #21 – Best use of Doritos ever! Although I’m a little afraid of what that says about the ingredients that they’re so flammable…

And a gratuitous Jelly Bean shot! Man, I love that kid! I bought this vintage dress for her when she was an infant and have been dying for her to get old enough so we could wear matching vintage! Dream come true.

Any of you have a weird/unconventional/ingenious tip to share? Were any of the other 99 helpful to you? (I LOVED the one about using a can opener to open blister packaging!)

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess October 22, 2012 at 6:29 am

Totally off topic, I love your boots in the last pic! So much geniosity in that list! Best use of tennis balls for sure. Love the Chapstick money holder. Would have come in very handy 5 years ago when money in the bra was the usual “wallet”.


Abby October 22, 2012 at 7:26 am

Also totally off topic, but I love LOVE that last pictures so much. Not helpful, but I had to say it anyway.


Emily October 22, 2012 at 7:34 am

Things I love:
1. the first picture.
2. the last picture!
3. all these amazing tips, some of them i literally said “WOW!!!” to my computer screen.
4. you! your blog! your writing! charlotte, you are the best.


Geosomin October 22, 2012 at 9:23 am

Totally agree on the Doritos thing. We had to burn one in a physics class with a calorimeter to measure the calories thermally in a Dorito…and those little chips burned for an inordinate amount of time…dripping grease…bleh. I haven’t been able to eat a Dorito since, but I always have some on hand camping as kindling. :)
I can’t believe how big the jellybean is getting already! :)


Happier Heather October 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

Thanks so much for this post! Some of those tips are so awesome! Now to remember them when I need them…

Also, your neighbor his only partially right about the tornado sirens in Minnesota. Different counties have different guidelines for when they sound the sirens. Dakota County and Washington County, for example, sound them for EVERYTHING. I currently live in Chisago County and they only sound them for tornado warnings. Just something to keep in mind when traveling outside of your county. Although you may not want to hit the basement right away, definitely head to a tv or weather radio and find out what’s really going on. Better safe than sorry!

Lastly, I LOVE your dress!


Alyssa (azusmom) October 22, 2012 at 11:39 am

I know this word has been used a lot already in the comments, but LOVE!
Love, love love love love love LOVE!!!!!! The photos especially, but also the tips.
Genius! Brilliant! It’s like being Dr. Watson and listening to Sherlock Holmes explain his deductions. Only more practical and without anyone having to die!

BTW, Neil Gaiman also talked about the frozen booger phenomenon when he moved to Minnesota from the U.K. I have experienced it. It is, indeed, an odd feeling.
Can’t say I’ve ever had the dubious pleasure of having my eyelashes frozen, however…


Dr. Mark October 22, 2012 at 11:41 am

What a waste of Doritos! Nooooooooo!


malevolent andrea October 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm

This is the second time in a week that I’ve randomly come across the rubber band over the paint can trick on the internet, making me wonder why I never knew that before. Does everyone know the trick about attaching a safety pin to a drawstring that’s come completely out of a pair of pants or hoodie? Probably. It did blow my (26 year old!) son’s mind when he handed me a pair of basketball shorts and asked if they could be saved, but he’s a man, haha.


Kara October 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I guess I’m the odd one out – maybe because I have a Pinterest account or maybe because I follow a lot of blogs, but I’m getting a little tired of seeing blog posts that are just people copying a string of things that they’ve found on Pinterest. I’d rather see someone post a couple that they found on Pinterest and if they actually worked or not, or how you adapted them for your own use.


Kate October 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm

A lot of these are great. I would love to try the chapstick trick, but I would probably lose the chapstick with the money on it on vacation.

Also, its now cold enough outside I can leave groceries in the car for short periods of time without worrying about things going bad! Best part about dipping below 40 degrees!


Noel Runkle October 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Now I want to cover my will in tennis balls! Those look so awesome and they’re so versatile. Thanks for sharing.

Unrelated: I’m now craving a bagel sandwich…


purelymichelle October 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm

haha I do not even know where to start…this is great!


delia October 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Your dress is so pretty!


Jody - Fit at 54 October 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm

YOU ARE GENIUS!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!!! Love these!!!!

AND the first pic is so beautiful – a beautiful family!!!! I love the look of your one son! You & Jelly Bean – ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Amy October 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

How did I not know that about freeway signs?! Seems like something they should have mentioned in drivers ed. I’ve tried the wooden spoon over a boiling pot, but my water still boiled over. Maybe it was user error.

I moved to MN from Idaho 6 years ago. I thought I knew what a cold winter was like, but boy was I wrong. Every time I complained that it was cold, people would say “it will get colder.” Finally, when it was below zero, people admitted it was cold.


Sagan October 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I was so amazed the first time I realized that plugging your car in during the winter is NOT the norm everywhere in the world. Same with making your Halloween costumes big enough so they fit over your parka. Oh these freezing places we live in!

Loved these tips :)


Matt October 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm

These are genius!

Here’s one more:

Cutting a Twinkie down the middle is great for a make-shift hot dog bun.

Isn’t that great?!


Saf October 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm

You look so happy and pretty, especially in these pictures!


Satu October 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Oh, I love the green dress! Did you make it yourself?


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