The Power of 15 Minutes


Yup. 15 minutes. That’s all I need. Well, actually I could use 15 hours, but I live with a 3 yr old and a 20 month old. Enough said. I have learned in the last months, as I have bounced between two different personality-blessed children, both with different needs based on ages and preferences, that I CAN make the most of 15 minutes. I will. AND I am here to show you how  (even if just one thing on your to do list gets checked off).

I have taken note the past month, and am providing you with a list of 15 activities I have found that I can accomplish in 15 minutes (for each, not completing all 15 in 15 minutes total, that would be nothing short of a miracle). As well as a list of 5 activities you can have your child participate in so your 15 minutes are somewhat uninterrupted (insert sarcastic, but hopeful, smirk) and successful! Obviously, every mama and every child have differing opinions, activities that they find important, and so on and so forth, so use this list as an ‘idea generator’, and cater to your family as needed!

My Top 15 in 15!

  1. Empty and fill dishwasher/finish dishes by hand.
  2. Fold 1 load of laundry and place another in the washer.
  3. Organize my junk drawer
  4. Go thru my wallet/purse (you know, restash the kids supply of items, refresh the lip gloss stash, make sure the hand wipes are present, pitch old useless things.)
  5. Give myself a pedicure.
  6. Prepare dinner or a healthy snack- a few quick and easy recipes I love, that don’t take more then 15min to prep, are as follows:  Crustless Broccoli QuicheKorean Beef , Blueberry Avocado Muffins (have them cook while you are busy with kiddos) and Garlic Parmesan Chicken
  7. Clean out and reorganize the fridge – I did this the other day and I could not believe it only took 15 minutes! Go shelf by shelf, cleaning each as you go, and pitching old condiments or randomness you haven’t touched. Soooo refreshing! (only a mom would think that).
  8. Shower in peace.
  9. Organize my tupperware/giveaway old ones
  10. Read my devotional/study/ 1 quick chapter in a book.
  11. Menu plan for the week. – I use Pinterest and have an ‘on our menus’ board that I share ‘secretly’ with another mama friend. We post to it when we have come up with ideas for that week’s meals. Pinterest is DEFINITELY a quick and easy way to meal plan.
  12. Wipe down the kitchen table/cupboard fronts/bathroom countertops
  13. Lift weights, complete a squat challenge, or simply stretch – here are a few quick at home workouts that require little to no equipment (just hand weights), AND they are pajama friendly! Squat challengeArms & Core workout , Basic Stretches for Tight Hips.
  14. Clean out 2 drawers in someone’s bedroom
  15. SIT and relax

NOW – to the list you may be even more curious about – my top 5 activities to keep the kiddos busy, while I attempt to accomplish one of those listed above.

Obviously we all have children of different needs, ages, and backgrounds; so what works for me, may be a ‘no way Jose’ for you. I encourage you to think about what your child already enjoys doing at home, and considering using it a ‘Mommy’s 15 minute break’ activity for them. Can they complete it independently? If the answer is YES, or almost YES, then set them up with it. You are not only setting them up for learning about success and failure in an independent manner, but you are allowing yourself 15minutes of sanity.

My top 5 ‘Independent’ activities for my 3 and 20month old.

  1. Playdoh/Coloring/Crafts/Paint – yup. pretty straight forward. I set them both up with the tools they need to play with the activity they choose (yes, I give them the option of one of the 3, NOT all 3) and let them go at it. Many times this activity lasts more then 15 minutes. SCORE!  Here is a fun recipe for gluten free, no cook, edible pumpkin play doh, especially if you have an ‘eater of all things nonedible.’      FB_IMG_1433172002010
  2. Pretend ‘cooking’ – my 3 yr old LOVES to pretend cook. Ill set her up in an area that I dont care if a mess gets made, and I provide her with unbreakable bowls, a wisk, and random ingredients (ie. oats, flour, a little bit of water, cinnamon, etc).  She puts on her own version of Barefoot Contessa and the rest is history. During this time I’ll have the 20month old ‘help’ her chef of a sister by gathering items, or I’ll set her up with cheerios and let her ‘experiment’ cooking in our play kitchen. If either of those are busts, then i’ll opt for one of the playdoh/coloring/crafts options above.20150810_195102
  1. Playing ‘tidy up’ – yes, cleaning up your room CAN be fun! I try to make cleaning up a fun activity, and my husband and I tend to refer to it as ‘tidying up.’. When presented to my 3yo in this way, she almost always complies (ALMOST that is), and it becomes a fun activity. Engaging my 20 month old with her during this usually ends up in them playing nicely together, while cleaning up the eldests’ room. Try it!
  2. Quiet play – I literally have them go in big sisters room, with the door propped open just a tad, and they play. I make sure to have 1 rule, with that rule being that they play until mommy comes to get them.  Of course, this is a failed attempt many times, but in the end they almost always end up playing at the other end of the house and I can at least get kitchen countertops scrubbed down.
  3. TV/music time – gasp! Yes, at times I do rely on technology to keep my kids entertained. When it comes to TV, we frequent Netflix, and have found they love Signing Time with Alex & Leah, which is a GREAT educational option for all ages. We tend to gravitate toward use of the Ipad or Sirus for music, and I choose a station that is kid friendly and they almost always end up playing while listening. I have to admit, I also like having music play while I work or play, so it’s another win win.

I hope these two lists of activities find you refreshed, while knowing you are not alone in the daily struggles of mamahood. The struggle is real mama, and the power of 15 minutes is necessary.

What activities have you found keep your kiddos entertained while you are completing tasks around the home? What can you complete in 15 minutes that is not listed? Share share share! The more the merrier!

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Hiya Mamas! I'm Stephanie, mother of 2 little ladies, wife to a 6'4 IT guy, occupational therapist, small health business owner, Sinclair adjunct faculty member, avid UD flyer fan, and a contributor for this awesomely lovely blog! Welcome! After growing up in Beavercreek, I received my BA in Psychology and my Master of Occupational Therapy, both from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, PA. In essence, Im a city lover and a farm-girl all wrapped up in one. Against everything I could possibly control (insert - 'wanted to move far away') , I moved back to Ohio after grad school, started working as an OT, met my husband, and will never leave. Nope. Im 937 for life. I love roasted broccoli, smoothees, and sparkling water, with a side of dark roast coffee and almond milk creamer. My 'me time' consists of HIIT training, long walks, exploring local, trying new foods, and following a strict 'flip flops until the first snow' rule. I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding non stop since 2011 - so ask me anything about either one of those topics and I am sure I can give you some sort of (comical) insight. My heart is with serving others, and I have had the opportunity to serve on mission trips to Montana twice, and on occupational therapy mission trips to Guatemala twice. I am hoping when the littles get older (not that I am in a rush - stop growing already!) I can give more time to local organizations in need of volunteers. We love our new church, our new neighborhood park, and our new home, all which we acquired in the past year. Happy blog reading my friends!