Since becoming a parent . . .
I have created lists, charts, even spreadsheets – all in an effort to comb through each aspect of my day and find a way to get some time back. Unfortunately, it often requires so much focus and discipline to get that extra time that I can barely relax when I get there. Sound familiar?
I’ll admit, in the last six weeks Gigi has freed up her schedule to help me get things done and life has gotten a lot easier as we prepare for this baby to arrive. I know this isn’t an option for most of you and it got me thinking about what life would be like without her.
Um . . . HARD!!! But not impossible ; – )
For me, planning and simple routines have made all the difference. Every Sunday I spend about an hour planning the next weeks meals. It doesn’t have to take this long, but I think the hunt for new, savory recipes is worth it ; – ) Since most of the recipes I use are online I just create a spreadsheet with links, like this:
|Baked Oatmeal||Leftover Baked Oatmeal||Bacon & Eggs*|
|Deviled Eggs||Leftover spaghetti w/ clams||Leftover roast chicken|
|Raw veggies w/ homemade ranch||Salad||Baked sweet potatoes|
|Spaghetti w/ clams and saffron||Roast Chicken||Lamb Korma (double recipe)|
|Summer Salad w/ Peach Walnut Dressing||Basmati Rice|
There are a couple of important features to this meal plan:
- As you can see, I don’t really make lunch, I just double the recipe for dinners and serve the leftovers the next day. No one complains about this . . . I guess they like me better when I’m not stressed from trying to make three meals a day from scratch .
- Also, I include reminders to myself about when to start preparing for future meals. So when I am frying up eggs and bacon on Wednesday morning I am also putting the basmati rice in to soak until dinner.
- Each meal plan has 3-4 easy meals with a few more involved ones. I schedule those meals on days I know I am likely to be busy and/or tired from a long week. Omelettes, sandwiches, and homemade pizzas are all fast and nourishing (I make a bunch of pizza crusts ahead of time and then freeze them).
- Using my spreadsheet I make a shopping list for the ritual Monday morning trek to Whole Foods. Each item is organized by where it is in the store, which means that pickles are listed under dairy because for some odd reason that’s where they are. Shopping is a breeze because I’m not zigzagging and backtracking through aisles trying to get what I need.
These little steps make my life MUCH easier throughout the week. I am able to easily meet the nutritional needs of my family without spending all day in the kitchen or losing my mind.
I am working on a series that I hope will make life easier for you in the kitchen, but in the meantime I recommend that you visit Kat’s post, Get a Chef, A Maid or a Nanny by Creating Effective Routines for some inspiration.
But before you leave, please share your wisdom with the rest of us! How do you make things run smoothly when it comes to housekeeping, caring for children and meal prep?