Cough. Cough. Cough. Sniffle. Snort.
Can you feel my misery rippling across cyberspace?
The flu bug descended on the Means house and has left me a shell of the woman I once was.
Alright, enough of my whining.
Can I just say thank goodness for Operation Organization?! And I am really serious. Since I’ve rearranged the kids’ rooms, the kids actually keep their rooms clean. Without bribing, begging or bartering. Everything has a place and things actually return there. What a concept.
So, when I awoke from my Nyquil-induced, coma-like stupor, I found that the house wasn’t in the shambles I’d feared.
Can I share another victory with you?
Remember Micah and my tardy problem? (Twenty-two last year!!) Well, we have been 15-20 minutes EARLY every day since school started!
The school safety patrol didn’t even recognize us… (Oh, look, a new family!)They're usually long gone by the time we arrive. (I know, I know, it’s only been eight days. Be quiet!)
The key has been getting up 30-45 minutes early. That made all the difference. I will keep you posted on our progress. I’m thinking about putting a tardy counter on my sidebar. Accountability (and humiliation) is very motivating. Keep your eyes out for it.
Okay, well, speaking of family schedules and such, my friend Dina is back today to give her weekly “Tips for the Troops.” So, listen up, soldiers!
Take it away, Dina:
Well, troops- are you beginning to feel a little "lighter"? No, we haven't started a weight loss plan - but when you look at the areas of your home you have been working on does it feel like a weight has been lifted? I hope so!
This week we will cover Family Scheduling. Again, everyone has their own way of doing things and I am not here to say that everyone should be doing things the same way. But I will offer tips that may help.
First of all - let's talk clutter again! Cluttered lives and schedules this time.
Schedules and Calendars
Sit down and look at all the activities your children are in and see if there are any that need to go. I know that certain sports have seasons and those seasons can get crazy, but if your family is in a perpetual state of chaos, it might be time to cut some things out.
How do you keep track of your family's comings and goings? Well, I pray you use a calendar of some sort, or you are really flying by the seat of your pants!
There are so many options for calendars these days. If you like to know at all times what you have going on then a planner would be good for you. It might be a paper planner, or an electronic one. If you're on your computer frequently during the day, you could do a calendar right on the computer and print it off as you need it.
Then there are the good old paper wall calendars (this is what I use). You can get all kinds of these things nowadays. There are ones with cute little stickers and lines where you write in each family member's name. Mine is pretty simple, but does have a pocket on the bottom. I can put papers in there that need to go on appointments with me during that month.
My sister always had a huge dry erase calendar in her laundry room - right where they came in and out of the house. It was for one month and each child's activities were written in a color for that child. They could see at a glance what was going on for that month. (This was in addition to her paper calendar).
Let's talk kid calendars. Some kids work well with their own calendars in their rooms to remind them to take their PE clothes, or musical instrument on certain days of the week to school. This is an excellent way to teach them organizational skills while they are young.
I know some people absolutely hate meal planning so they don't do it. Then all week they don't know what to eat and they wind up eating out almost every night. You don't need to be a gourmet cook to get a home-cooked meal on the table at night.
Some people like to plan a week or even a month of meals out. I plan three meals at a time. I sit down every Sunday and write down what we're going to have and make my list. Now, if we wind up eating dinner out one or two nights, I don't have a bunch of food stacking up in my fridge or freezer.
Here's the way I look at it: I know I'm going to be at the grocery store at least twice in a week. We eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, so I know I'm going to need to replenish them about mid-week. If we are going to eat at home the rest of the week, I would plan three more meals and purchase those items on that second trip. I must confess, my family rarely eats out. Usually only once a week - and this is what works best for me because I cook so much.
I think the point here is - find a system that works for you and spend a little time each week planning some meals for your family - whether you plan two meals or two months worth. Your family will appreciate sitting down and eating a home-cooked meal together!
Get the family involved! As you plan meals - ask the spouse and kids what they would like that week. This takes a little pressure off you and you have happy diners!
Another tip: When you know you are about to enter a busy time - maybe it's baseball or football season - it might be wise to do a little advanced planning. In my case, it's volleyball season - and it's starting now. So, as I plan meals, I'm planning some things that are larger and freeze well. I can pull them out game day and we still have a home-cooked meal when we get home.
More meal planning ideas: get together with a friend or two on the weekend and cook some meals to divide up for the week! Bonappetit.com has information about starting a cooking club.
Great tips. Thanks, Dina!
The giveaway this week is a $10 Pier One gift card. So, get to work and we'll see you back here on Friday to report! Dis-missed!
One final note: I was featured on Mama Notes last Sunday. It's a great blog with awesome information for young moms. Click here to read my interview!