Getting back to school means it’s time to get back to routines too. While I was light on schedules for a long time (especially when we homeschooled), I find that the kids & I operate better with a routine in place. I try to keep our schedule simple so it’s not overloaded with activity after activity and no downtime. Momma needs her downtime.
With school in full swing and some fall activities starting I need to be more mindful of meal planning, and shopping. I started a weekly routine with my 9 year old (who is an early riser by nature). We get up early and head out to Starbucks for a little breakfast (oatmeal and coffee for me, oatmeal and Odwalla mango juice for her), and snag a paper for some coupon clipping, and comic reading.
Then the two of head out for a morning of grocery and errand shopping. Emma loves to help and it’s a good way to get in some one on one time, talk about our week, and anything else that is on her mind. I find the key to keeping my kids balanced is making plenty of time for them one on one.
It also helps to shop when the stores aren’t terribly busy, and with only one helper I actually end up spending way less since she helps me manage the list and keeps track of the money we are spending. We’ve been spending about $50-90 less than when I shop on my own during the week, and that savings is enough to keep me getting up early even on a Sunday.
I’ve also been trying to cook every night of the week. I take Fridays off (if there are leftovers we usually eat those), and weekends are so variable it’s tough to know what we’ll eat (sometimes we are out, sometimes we are home and just nosh on whatever).
As with past menu plans, I’ll share what I’m cooking and recipe links, but I also try to keep things flexible. If something needs cooking or we end up running late on homework or have an unexpected delay I may switch meals around to make things easier on myself.
Some readers answered my call on the Centsible Life facebook page for their fave quick recipes for busy evenings. Their suggestions:
- Cristie from The Traveling Circus said “Shrimp stir fry. Frozen everything an’s a splash of sesame oil and ginger.”
- Jennifer said “Quesadillas. Older kids can even fill their own and you can grill/griddle them.”
- Sheila from Pieces of Mom said “Caprese pasta…cube fresh mozzarella, chop some tomatoes (can be grape, cherry, roma, etc), tear basil leaves, add some olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano. Stir to combine. Add cooked whole-grain pasta. Toss and serve.”
- Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife shared her favorite easy meal: “Spaghetti! (Gluten free of course)”
Meal Plan Monday (September 19th-25th)
Monday (19th): Tonight we eat early-Aidan and Audrey have activities in the evening. Gluten-free pasta with choice of butter, sauce or cheese. Side salad. Garlic bread for the kids.
Weird aside: After I was cut the squash up for this soup yesterday my hand got swollen, numb and the skin flaked off. Apparently this is a common allergic reaction to raw butternut squash! Who knew?
Wednesday (21st): London broil, broccoli, salad.
Thursday (22nd): Taco Night: Rice, ground beef, lettuce, grated cheese, and salsa.
Friday (23rd): OFF! Most likely eating leftovers.
Saturday (24th): Possibly eating out.
Sunday (25th): Shopping Day! Roast chicken (The secret is the lemon! It keeps the chicken juicy.), potatoes, asparagus or broccoli.
What’s on your agenda for this week? Do you have any quick and easy meals that make life simpler on busy nights?