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Crunch-time solutions rescue busy moms

Saving minutes during the day can help you go from frazzled to organized. Parenting magazine picks products to make your chores easier.
/ Source: TODAY

For busy moms, anything that shaves a few minutes off an errand or makes a chore a little easier is a lifesaver. With that in mind, Parenting magazine provides crunch-time solutions to help mothers get through the biggest time drains they face throughout their days — from the morning mayhem to dinner prep to getting the kids ready for bed. In , the gives advice and showcases innovative new products to help moms ease through the day’s hot spots. Lisa Bain, executive editor of Parenting, was invited on “Today” to tell parents about some products that can make those busy times of day a little bit easier. Here’s the complete list:

Morning rush
Family catchall
With the Luns Notice Board, you can stash the stuff you always forget — keys, cell phone, sunglasses — so you can just grab what you need on your way out. Plus, there’s a magnetized chalkboard for reminders, invites, permission slips, and more.(Ikea, $15;

Java in a jiffyBrew your morning jolt faster with the Deluxe Coffee Maker. Just put the coffee pod in, and 30 seconds later you’ll have your cup of joe — or even a cappuccino! (Senseo, $69.99,; pods $5 for 18, available online and at grocery stores)

Cool countdownGet your kid moving with the Time Tracker Visual Timer and Clock. The colors tell her when she’s getting close to departure time, and if those aren’t enough, she can choose one of six fun sounds (such as a siren or a buzzer) to go off when the lights switch.(Learning Resources, $35;

Rise and shineLet the retro Moonbeam Clock soften the blow of waking up. At the appointed time, a light flashes for five minutes. If you’re still not up, a bell chimes until you shut it off or hit snooze. Available in yellow, periwinkle, blue, green, and pink. (L.L. Bean, $36; or 800-441-5713)

Every bling in its placeKeep those curious fingers off your baubles with a Hanging Jewelry Keeper, which goes in your closet. You’ll be accessorized in no time when you can see your entire tangle-free collection at a glance.(Hagerty, $30;

Help yourself!Put out the Indispensable Professional Dispenser and your kids can fill their own cereal bowls. Or let 'em pour their snack into a container while you fix lunch.(Zevro, $40; or 800-313-8588 for stores)

Chill outPack lunch the night before inside the Lunch on the Go carrier. The next morning, just toss in the ice pack (included) from the freezer to keep food fresh for up to six hours.(Fit & Fresh, $10; or 800-299-5704)

Bright ideaPress the cap on Firefly Anti-Cavity Fluoride Toothpaste and it’ll flash for one minute (dentists recommend 60 seconds each for top and bottom). Your child will know when it’s OK to switch and rinse. (Dr. Fresh, $3; at drugstores)

Meter aid
With this Parking Meter Alarm you’ll never get another ticket. It beeps when time’s almost up and holds 10 quarters.(Kikkerland, $10;

Collapse and carryThe Cosmo DX stroller folds twice, weighs a mere 13 pounds, and has a carrying strap. Plus, it opens with just one hand.(Combi, $100; for stores)

Stylish stashEverything’s in its place! The Hobo Bag has a divider, plus three pockets on the inside and two on the outside for easy access.(JCPenney, $38;

Beyond crosswordsYour child’s fast asleep in the car. Why wake her? Pass the time with Scratch & Solve Tough Hangman #3.(Sterling Publishing, $6; at bookstores)

Get a gripThis Shopping Bag Carrier will keep grocery bags from cutting into your fingers, and the sturdy handle will let you heft multiple bags at once — fewer trips from the car to the kitchen!(Active Forever, $4.50;

Divide and conquerNot only will the ClearAway Car Organizer determine once and for all whose side is whose, it’ll keep the backseat battleground tidy. Put it on the hump to store toys, books, and snacks. (Talus, $20;

Fun on wheelsThe I Spy Game Book has images of 25 items that can be flipped over once your child spots ’em. Best part: It can be played over and over — silently. We spy a happy mom! (Latitude Enfant, $30;

Combo dealStore snacks in the top portion and a drink in the bottom of the Crunch & Sip 2-in-1. When the snack top is open, the spillproof straw automatically folds down; when the straw’s up, the snack top is snapped shut. The result: fewer messes to clean up en route. (Snack Knack, four for $20 with cartoon designs;

DinnertimeWinner’s cupsThe SleekStor Collapsible Cup Set is colorful and kid-friendly. Your child can measure out macaroni for dinner or just scoop Cheerios back and forth. Ages 2 and up.(Chef’n, $17;

ZootopiaYou’ve never seen a pigraffe before? Wait till your child gets hold of Creature Mix. Each of the three animals inside (a giraffe, a pig, and a gorilla) has interchangeable parts for creating really wild things. Ages 4 and up.(MGA Entertainment, $13;

Oh, little play matAfter your child makes a picture, slide it under the Piggy Platter Placemat so he can admire his artwork over (well, under!) supper. The mat’s rounded rims contain spills, and it’s dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup. Ages 1 to 5. (Smarty Parents, $25;

Clay stationThese ingenious Clay Club Kits provide everything your kid needs to whip up something cool in 30 minutes or less — take your pick of a half dozen projects, like Tic Tac Toe and Jazzy Jewelry. Ages 6 and up.(Sculpey, $5.50; at Target stores)

Cool toolsGive your pots and pans a break — and give your child his own set. The Cook Time Box has lots of sturdy plastic utensils and food for a fabulous ”feast” before the real one. Ages 3 and up. (Awesome Kids, $26;

’Toon-upTV was made for times like these. Pop in Walt Disney’s "It’s a Small World of Fun! Vol. 1," a DVD of vintage cartoons from around the globe. Each is short, so it’s easy to hit ”pause” when dinner’s ready. Ages 2 and up. ($15;

Grab bagWhen all else fails, just pull out this Soft Basket With Handles, which you’ve filled with goodies like old cell phones and wallets, a calculator, a remote control, and more. All ages. (Stacks and Stacks, $13;

Hey, hey, it’s the monkeysMagnaPets Plush Chimps really stick together, or on the fridge, courtesy of magnets hidden in their fuzzy little hands and feet. Ages 2 and up. (Mary Meyer, $4.50 each;

Shower space saver
The Frog Pod has a detachable scooper so you can gather, drain, and store wet toys with one sweep.(Boon, $30;

Snug as a bugTempt her out of the tub with this cute and supersoft hoodie towel, which makes drying off fun and fast. Also available in a ladybug, a cow, a butterfly, and others. (Kidorable, $33;

Trim down the toysThe six colorful nubs on the Rub a Dub Star Crayon mean lots of creativity from one small toy.(Alex, $5;

All-in-one sudsSoothing Naturals Hair and Body Wash will get your kids squeaky clean, with one less bottle.(Johnson & Johnson, $4; at drugstores nationwide)

Cute little multi-taskerThis crab doubles as a washcloth and a bath buddy, making scrub-down anything but dull.(Munchkin, $5;

Break out the bubblyThe ColorFall SudsWorks will turn your tub into a rainbow-hued wonderland of bubbles and waterfalls. The colors won’t rub off on your child or the tub, and he’ll be having such a blast that the only other entertainment you’ll need is a magazine for yourself.(Crayola, $13;

Reclaim your floorWhen your child drops a trail of T-shirts and socks on the way to the tub, just dump it all in this portable hanging hamper (and then teach him to do it!). Once the hamper’s full, it’s easy to unhook and take to the laundry room.(Organize-It, $11;

A tub-time essentialStick this starfish to the inside of the tub and it’ll beep when the water reaches it. That way, you can turn on the tap, walk away, and not worry that the tub’s going to overflow. A built-in thermometer makes sure the water’s just the right temperature. (Wizard Sales, $15;

Sunday night sanity savers
Map it out
Write the week’s appointments on the Magnetic Weekly Planner to keep them from running through your head like a nonstop to-do list. The corkboard means important invites and notices won’t get lost.(Board Dudes, $17; or 800-521-4332)

Good reason to get into bed earlyPlug your iPod or stereo into the MiPillow and zone out! You can listen to your tunes wirelessly (and comfortably) through the built-in speaker in the pillow.(WestPoint Home, $40; or 800-458-3000)

Game night!Round up the family to play Hullabaloo’s Amazing Animal Adventure. Better than watching TV (which makes time fly by), playing this DVD game will keep you laughing all night. (Cranium, $25; or 877-272-6486)

No dry cleaner neededStash a no-iron blouse in your closet so you won’t need the iron for tomorrow’s outfit. (Lands’ End, $37; or 800-356-4444)

A just-for-you to-doUse Hottie Oil Therapy Repair Blasts and your hair will look so good, you won’t have to wash it for days.(göt2b, $6; at grocery stores and drugstores)

So you can love last-minute projectsKeep the Giant Art Jar on hand and the kids will be able to whip up anything from a diorama to a show-and-tell creature — even when you find out the assignment is due the next day.(Alex, $25;

Easy-bakeLeave Ready to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies in your fridge and you can make a snack for the class — fast. (Pillsbury, $4.50; at grocery stores)

To read more about how to get organized, check out