Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Five Life Hacks at 5:00

These five things have made my (admittedly first world), middle class life easier.  Maybe they're all old news to you...or maybe, just maybe you'll find something here that'll make your life easier.
  1. Buy black beans in bulk then cook and eat them in large volumes.  This is number one on this list because guys, this is where it's at.  I have had black beans here and there in the past, but recently a bean enthusiast friend of mine sourced a better supplier in Dunedin than the average sup' (Kaan's, if you're a local), and schooled me in the ways of boiling the dried goodies for maximum flavour and now I mean bean business.  Being able to retrieve a serving of fat-free, flavourful protein (that isn't from an animal!) from the fridge, as required, has made answering "What shall I have to eat?" a no-brainer.  "Beans" is the answer.  Almost always. Okay, not always, but my girls will probably say it seems like always (no, I don't serve them out to all as often).  Beans, corn and cherry tomatoes atop brown rice?  Or perhaps with salad?  Or hearty toast topped with beans and a little melted cheese? Or the same with Doritos, for a treat!  Yes, yes, yes...yes.
  2. Embrace public fruit trees and their bounty.    Dunedin's town belt is dotted with fruit trees -- all on council land, and most yielding reliably.  A Hercule's-stone-throw from our property, we have more than one pear tree.  We have had pear crumble, thanks to the City of Dunedin, and you should too!  (Super-firm pears will ripen alongside other fruit after a week or so.)  I'm not sure what your city offers, but if you pass a feijoa, plum or some-other tree overhanging the footpath you take each day and think, "I really should collect some of those," stop procrastinating and enjoy the spoils before the birds and worms do!  Mmmmmmmm.
  3. Use dotted/dashed fonts for kids' word processing to allow for trace-over after printing. Love it.  Great for early writers.  Esky is now writing her own tales, recounts and more on the laptop, and installing a "trace this"-looking font was two seconds well spent. She types her story in an enlarged Times or Arial, and after selecting a black and white line drawing illustration to top the page, I replace the working font with the traceable one.  Print, trace and colour!  Boom! (I use National First Font Dotted, which you can grab from DaFont.com -- yes, one of my favourite stomping grounds.)
  4. Save videos to be re-watched instead of streaming them repeatedly. While I've done this since "stream" became a verb, I have been reminded of the efficiency and superiority of saving content over recent weeks.  Videos should not buffer during a lesson or presentation, and having short educational (and let's be honest, entertaining) clips saved and catalogued on your hard drive for the little'uns means ad-free, hassle-free viewing.  If you haven't found it before, we find KeepVid really helpful for nabbing clips we feel comfortable saving (sometimes we feel a breach is happening, but other times we know the video-makers approve of private use).
  5. Permit the occasional laundromat catch-up.  "Catch-up: Laundromat" is catchier.  Winter came early this year, and the snow and sleet was made snuggly and okay because I hauled four baskets of wet washing to the laundromat and let two industrial dryers catch me up in half an hour.  It was worth the coin convy I slotted in those puppies.  Consider it, if you ever feel like the threads are getting you down...because you can stop saying, "This is out of my hands, but also so out of hand!" ...if you're willing to pay.  I was willing.  And I will again at least one before the year's out, I know it now.
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