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Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Do You Do It?

People ask me this from time to time. It is all about perspective, really. I don't feel like I do it at all. In fact, I often feel like it's never enough.

The truth is...I don't DO it ALL. I do it all half arsed. Ha ha! In all seriousness though I pick and choose my battles. There are some things that I do really well and some things I skimp on, and what I am okay to skimp on you may not be, so while I appreciate the compliment I really think people should focus on being more like themselves and less trying to meet others accomplishments. Know what I mean?

With that said I do receive messages from time to time asking me "How do you cook 4 kids hot breakfasts every day, or how do you cook dinner and work every night during the school/work week" so I thought I'd post a few of my tried and true systems that I have in place. These little steps take time, but also save time where I need it most.

1. Sunday Cooking Day. This could be done on whatever day works best for YOU! I don't do anything on Sundays, and the kids do not have school or social functions much on Sundays so this day works best for me.
I brown ground beef for the weeks meals. I pack them in 1lb increments in zippered baggies and place them in the fridge. I can easily add taco seasoning, spaghetti sauce, etc. either the day of the meal or sometimes I will even just add the sauce and store it in a storage bowl with lid. It depends on if I will have time to heat it on the stove or if I will be microwaving the day it is served. Microwave=bowl. Skillet=baggie. Make sense? I usually serve 2-4 staples each week that this precooking can be done for (Spaghetti, Lasagna, Tacos/traveling tacos, Enchiladas, Sloppy Joe's and/or Chili/Chili mac.

I also pre-dice tomatoes from our garden, green peppers, onions, and shred lettuce and place it in baggies. Less prep during the week means more time with the kids and more time to clean and help w/homework,

2. Breakfast. If I make french toast on Monday morning I will make extras, bag them up in sandwich baggies and the kids can microwave it for breakfast later in the week and I can sleep in that day! If we make pancakes on Sunday morning I'll make a double batch and freeze the 2nd batch in sandwich baggies for one of those days when I don't have time to cook breakfast or if we oversleep. :)

3. Chores. I have chore charts. Not just for the kids. I have daily lists for myself as well to help me stay on task. I need reminders. I divide the kids up into days. It makes my week so much easier. Here are some examples.
-Monday is my oldest child's day. On Monday I will wash, and dry his bedding and he will wash, dry, and put away his laundry. I will dust his room. He will vac his carpet. This will be done every Monday.

I have 4 kids so Monday through Thursday each child gets a day to follow that same schedule. Friday is my day and Weekends are for washing towels, the bogs bedding, and we vac the other rooms of the house.

If you want to know more you can check out some posts I made on my old blog Simplify Your Crazy Life

4. It's the little things...It's hard to stay on schedule when things are not working. Things like dead cell phones and home phones make me come undone. Every night I make sure all phones are charging, my work camera batteries are charging, my camera memory card is in the camera, my work reports are together and ready for the next day, and in a place where I can find them and they will not get buried in the morning.

I make sure car keys are hanging up and everyone has school clothes socks and shoes laid out for the next day, and all backpacks are packed, all school forms are signed so the morning is all about eating, brushing teeth and hair and spending time with each other instead of hunting down shoes and work things. I do get to bed later than would like to most nights but in the morning it is worth the peaceful rhythm we can have together without the chaos.
5. Lastly is you have to make time for YOU! You have to have a coffee break, or a chocolate break every once in a  while. I will tell the kids mommy is stepping outside to tend to the garden and I can spend 5 minutes harvesting, weeding, or just sitting with a Dove chocolate. 5-15 minutes can make a huge difference in your productivity.

In closing, I don't do it all. Ever. I strive to do it well and when it doesn't go smooth i try to be a duck and go with the flow.

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