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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Routines, Routines

I read Creating a Dinnertime Routine from Keeper of the Home yesterday, and I wanted to share some of our routines with you. These are things that help our home run more smoothly, and they might work for you too.

I meal plan. I have been doing this ever since we got married, and while it has gotten more detailed lately, I have always found it to be helpful. We grocery shop for 2 weeks at a time, picking up occasional extras in between. I plan out lunches and dinners. You can see my latest meal plan here. Planning these out allows me to always know what we're having to eat, and to use some of the same ingredients while still keeping variety.

We keep the same two breakfasts in rotation: eggs and toast, and cereal. These are not the most exciting, but we always have the ingredients, and they're quick and easy ways to start the morning.

I really liked the article's mention of doing prep for meals beforehand. I chop up most of our veggies for the two weeks at one time, within a day or two of shopping. Any that we aren't using that day get put in small containers, labeled, and frozen. That way I can just pull out the ones we need (1 green pepper, 1 carrot and celery mix, etc.) when we need them. I love love love not having to chop veggies for every meal and still being able to use fresh ingredients. If we are having two meals within a couple days of each other that both use dried beans, I'll cook up a double portion right away and keep them in the refrigerator. Have I mentioned that I love meals where I can just throw everything in a pot, turn the heat on, and be done? Oh yeah.

I clean on Mondays. For whatever reason, that's the point in time when I feel most productive. Laundry gets done throughout the day. The bathroom (usually) gets cleaned, and the rags thrown right in the wash. Same with dusting. I scare Jonah with the vacuum, and he helps me pick up miscellaneous items that have wandered throughout the house. Some people find it easier to spread these chores out. I like to do them all at once, at least at this point. Ask me in a couple months when Matthew is born, and it will probably be a completely different story...

I really try to do dishes every morning. It's far easier to do one sinkful at a time than to try to finish the sinkful, plus the stack on the counter, plus the pots on the stovetop, all within the few minutes Jonah is distracted dumping toys from pot to pot on the kitchen floor.

Naptime is me time. Jonah is down to one nap in the middle of the day. I shower, grab a mug of hot cocoa or a small snack, have my personal devotion, and catch up on my blogs or read or do something fun. I try not to do my chores during this time, because having a bit of down time does wonders for my productivity and patience level during the rest of the day. I am really not looking forward to that inevitable time when naptime disappears, but for now, I really cherish it.

Jonah has a bedtime routine that we stick to as well. Dinner, bathtime, read 3 stories, and play some music while we pick up toys and relax. Then we say prayers and off to sleep he goes. They say kids thrive on routines, but I think it's true for adults too. Do you have any routines that make life easier?

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