Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making It Work

A few things that help my schedule run efficiently...

Plan meals ahead of time.  I've always been a planner so when making a list for the grocery store, I would create a pool of meals to choose from for the coming weeks.  (We shop bi-weekly.)  However, before Benjamin was born, I started making a detailed dinner menu for each day based on outside activities and how much time I anticipated having to cook.  Like all schedules, this one is flexible and subject to change, but it eliminates the four o'clock scramble to find something for dinner.  And since I do much of my cooking in the morning, planning ahead allows me to thaw the meat I need the night before. 

Train the children to help (and train myself to let them).  I wrote about this in depth here when I first starting blogging.  To me, the toughest challenge is taking the time to train them to do a job right so that it is a genuine help.  Sometines it feels easier and faster to do the work myself, but once they are trained, days go much more smoothly when I can ask for help and feel confident that the work is being done well. 

Work about half a day ahead.  This may seem silly to most, but it works for me.  I don't wait for evening to cook.  I do it in the morning.  If we have evening plans, I pack the diaper bad in the afternoon.  If we have somewhere to go in the morning, I lay out the children's clothes the night before.  (I lay out clothes for the older ones, too.  Even though they are perfectly capable of dressing themselves, it eliminates the morning scramble of, "What socks match this shirt?" and "Is it warm enough to wear this dress?")   Working half a day ahead assures that we won't get behind.  If I run out of time to cook in the morning, I still have the rest of the day to catch up!

What do you do to keep things running smoothly at your house?


  1. Working a half day ahead is brilliant! I'm going to have to try it! I am not organized at all (so it seems). We just have our schedule so the kids stay rested and regular. Other than that, I just make sure to leave a half hour early to everything. A half day ahead is the same principle applied to everything. GREAT!

  2. I love your ideas about meal planning and being organized! My favorite tool for eliminating the frazzled feeling at dinnertime is the Crock-Pot. Since I work full time and my husband is in school, we both get home tired and hungry around 5:30. Nothing like having a home-cooked, hot meal ready for us! It's so worth the twenty minutes or so it takes to chop ingredients in the morning.

  3. I love the idea of working half a day ahead. That's how Tim thinks, but it definitely doesn't come natural to me.

    We've simplified lunchtime by having the same lunch every day. It takes less than 10 minutes to make, it's simple enough for the kids to help, I know it's healthy, and clean-up is quick. All good thing in my book. :)

  4. I also work "a day ahead".... I lay out clothes, make lunches/snacks and prep bags because I know the mornings are gonna be a mad scramble to get all 5 ppl dressed, fed and out the door in time! Loving these posts!!

  5. To answer your question:

    For lunch we have:
    ~ Whole wheat wraps with freshly ground peanut butter (well, fresh when we get it from the store, no salt or sugar) and half a banana (cut lengthwise)rolled up inside. Emahry calls them "bamana wraps"
    ~ Baked sweet potato "chips" (thinly sliced sweet potatoes baked at 350 for 5-10 minutes on each side, can be eaten plain or dipped in apple cider vinegar, they are soft, not crunchy)
    ~ Green spinach smoothies (water, orange juice concentrate, spinach, banana, & an assortment of frozen fruit)
    ~ If Tim's home for lunch we normally have carrot sticks too, since he isn't exceptionally fond of sweet potatoes, although he'll eat them drenched in vinegar ("and when I say drenched, I mean drenched.")

  6. I wish id read this earlier today :) thank you for remindind me about starting dinner in the morning. I used to do that and it does make things so much easier in the evening:)

  7. Wouldn't I love to be able to take credit for training my lovely daughter to be such an organized mama who is always one step ahead? But alas, as I read this post, I wonder if we are even related! (Especially considering that I am usually a half a day behind!)
    Wonder if it's too late to teach an old dog new tricks? ;-)

  8. all great ideas. love that you get your work
    done in the morning.

    after bath time, we used to put the kids in
    the t shirts they would wear the next day,
    another time saver and laundry saver.

    you have such good common sense that
    your family will always benefit from.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...