Even though I don't have small children and it looks like it's going to be awhile before there are any grandchildren, I wish I had seen these parenting tips sooner. Here's why.

Over the weekend, our family cared for three very active youngsters who's parents went out of town for a weekend retreat.

We had everything from the picky eaters to a few cries in the night. Plus, more kids means more mess and the need to get the kids to help clean up. While not everything in this video applied to our particular situation, (we didn't have an infant), there are enough fun ideas worth sharing.

Bubbles are great, but we had just purchased a new stove and I asked the delivery guys to leave the box. We cut a door in it and the kids had a lot of fun playing in their cardboard box fort. The best part, it didn't cost anything and when the kids left, the box was broken down and is headed to the recycle center.