We asked mommy blogger Karianna of (Best) Bib and Tucker Blog to give us some tips on getting back into the swing of things with your family after the new year. We’ll let her take it from here!
Ah, the New Year! A time for starting over, making plans, changing habits, getting organized… Having three children, two of whom are in school, I get asked a lot how I am able to get things done and out of the house in the morning. My honest answer? We live by routines and time management tools. My husband usually leaves for work about an hour before we leave for school so it’s usually just me and kiddos in the morning.
For me, it really comes down to managing your time wisely, and I’d like to share my favorite time management tips for those busy weeks:
Write it down
This is the number one and most important tip. Write everything down. If you try to keep it all in your head, you will forget something (or someone!)
Some people love digital calendars, like a synced iCal or the Cozi app, but I am an old-fashioned paper planner girl. This is of my Erin Condren Life Planner (ECLP) (see photo above) and it serves as my journal, meal plan, blog calendar, schedule keeper, address book… you name it, it’s in there.
After school on Fridays is movie afternoon for the girls. While they settle in to watch a film, I settle down with the calendar and plan lunches and dinners for the following week. I take into consideration our schedules and what I already have in the freezer and fridge and what we should be receiving in our CSA box. I usually plan dinners first because many of the girls’ lunches are based off of leftover dinners. Our Dinner menu gets written on the kitchen chalkboard and into the ECLP and the lunch menu goes on this cute printable that I found and had laminated, but you could easily just put them on a paper calendar or your phone. You may have noticed that I don’t have side dishes listed on the chalkboard, mostly because I like more of a clean board. Our sides are usually complementary fruits and veggies.
Decide on Outfits for the Week
My girls’ school has a uniform code (red, black or white on top; black or khaki on bottom) so this is my simplest step. Picking out their clothes for the week on Sunday evening and sticking them in a clothes organizer allows them to get dressed right away when they wake up, saving precious minutes in the morning. If you have no need for a kids’ uniform, just have them pick out their tops and bottoms for the week. This is also a great tip for moms and dads! I, for sure, do have a “Mom Uniform,” usually leggings or skinny jeans and a tunic top, and I do mix it up with dresses when weather permits. If you have an idea of what you are going to wear for the day, you are less likely to have that panic moment of “What am I going to wear??”
Make One Breakfast for the Week and Prep Lunch Add-ins: Sunday Night
I like to give the kids a substantial, protein-filled, breakfast in the morning, but I will tell you, I found myself running out of time in the morning and just reaching for a cereal bar as we raced out of the door! Then I had a lightbulb moment: Make breakfast on Sunday FOR THE WEEK. After dinner Sunday evenings, while hubs gets the kids in bed (or after they are in bed if he’s traveling) I’ll make muffins to serve with nut butter (recipe below) and/or prep an egg strata to pop into the oven in the morning, to serve for the week. The strata bakes for about 45 minutes while we get ready in the morning and then I am able to microwave portions for the other mornings. Another good option for a “make once, microwave the rest” breakfast is Steel Cut Oats in the crockpot, or to hard-boil a dozen eggs to serve throughout the week. If your kids like more variety, serve the prepped meal 3 days and on the other two days? Cold Cereal or Instant Oatmeal and Fruit.
As to the kids’ lunches, since most of my lunch mains come from dinner the night before, I just have to prep the sides for the week. In addition to the main dish, I add a fruit, some vegetables, something crunchy (think nuts or popcorn) and some dairy (yogurt or cheese.) I wash and portion the fruits and vegetables for their lunches, make sure that their milk and juice boxes are in the refrigerator and get the snacky things ready to toss into their lunches in the morning.
Keep Supplies Handy and Chores Visible
Mornings can be hectic, but I’ll tell you, homework time can be worse! There is nothing harder than having to, at the last minute, scramble for art supplies or pencils or construction paper! One of the easiest ways to take the headache out of homework time it to make sure that you have a dedicated homework supply section. Keeping pencils, crayons, sharpeners, markers, glue and the like in dedicated containers makes those supplies easy to find and use. Because a huge part of time management is making sure all of your ducks are in a row and one way that I do that is to keep my personal chore list visible and doable. I use this checklist from Making Home Base but you could easily mock up your own.
Karianna is a wife and mother living in sunny Pasadena, CA. She loves style, fabric and yarn, can wield a hot glue gun with finesse and can make something out of those meal leftovers. When not creating or volunteering, you can find her reading the latest true crime novel or painting her nails. Come visit her at (Best) Bib and Tucker Blog or on Instagram/Twitter.