30 Minutes on Sunday So I Can Have Weekday Sanity & Make Sure We’re All Eating to Nourish Ourselves

“I just don’t have time” is always the response I get when I talk about how easy it is to cook nourishing foods at home without relying on prepared, packaged, or processed foods.  And how it IS possible to find nourishing foods that even the pickiest eater will tuck into.

After my post yesterday, in which I relayed my rather strong feelings on how we should be eating, and the consequences we can expect when we repeatedly subject our body (and that of every member of our family) to inflammation, I thought I should maybe try to tackle this “I don’t have time” issue . . .

Here’s the thing.  YOU DO HAVE TIME.  I promise!

I know.  You’re busy.  I get it.

So . . . . how do you make more time?

Start by blocking off half an hour on Sunday.  Preferably in the morning.  Preferably when the whole family is home (this of course depends on the ages of your kids).

Go through your fridge – toss out anything that needs to go.  And figure out what food you need to get you through the week.  It’s at this time that I menu plan for the week – my kids both have lunch programs at their school, and the Husband and I eat salads each day for lunch – so I plan breakfast and dinners for the week.  From there, I make a grocery list.  Depending on what we’re having in a given week, I may schedule in a mid-week grocery shop as well.  But since we’re in the dead of winter, there isn’t much exciting fresh produce in the stores, and I am happy to have frozen meat in the freezer for dinners (especially now that I have an InstantPot, but that’s a story for another day), I can go from Sunday night through Friday night with one grocery shop on Sunday.  It’s at this point that the Husband usually heads out to the grocery store, but if that isn’t in the plan for the day, I have my list ready to go for Monday morning.

Once I have taken care of the food planning side of things, I tackle the calendar for the week.  I make sure everyone knows if there’s something special going on that week – from field trips to appointments to nights the Husband will be working late.

Then I tackle the school bags.  Since my kids are still young, I make sure that both their bags are emptied of garbage and any other detrius that accumulated during the week.  I also make sure that they have everything in their bags that needs to be in there.  As my son is getting older, I have him check his school schedule and help pack any gym clothes, winter clothes, or homework that he needs for the next day.

Next up is the activity bags.  I get the dance, skating, swim and hockey bags ready for the week.

I also make sure that my purse is cleaned out, that my gym bag is ready to go, and that I have everything in order for my week.

I print out the charts for the week for the kids.  (Sure, this may seem a bit tiger-mom-ish – but, most of the things on the charts are things they have to do anyway, like homework and practice piano.  These charts simply transfer the responsibility to them to ensure that they get the work they need to get done, done.  And if we get extra work done . . . well, then that’s just a bonus!  I also sometimes add in incentives for them in case they want to do more work.)

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And then I sit down to plan out my week, what things I want to get done and when I’m going to do them.  I am absolutely LOVING using both my Powersheets and my Simplified Planner – between these two tools, I have been able to spend the last three weeks chipping away at my to-do’s and my goals, all without feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of my to-do list or my long-term goals.

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Ok . . . I know what you’re going to say . . . but . . . YES, you can do all this in THIRTY minutes!  You can take longer if you want . . . but it really can be done in just half an hour!

So, how does this save my sanity exactly?  Well, first off, come tomorrow morning, when we’re jolted back to the reality of the work/school week, I know that at a minimum, the whole family is on the same page with breakfast, and there will be no last minute running around trying to find/pack what we need for the day!  Repeat that for each day of the work week, and you’ll be amazed how much more relaxed you are!!  When the mornings go well, the rest of your day seems to magically go well too . . .

I also know, come Monday morning, exactly how my week is going to work.  I know that I won’t have to make unnecessary (and time-wasting) trips to the grocery store.  I know that there will be no last-minute panics with the kids needing something.  And I know what I can expect to get done each day.  Of course, I also know where I have pockets of time to fit in anything unexpected that might come up during the course of the week.

And how does this mean we’re all nourished properly?  Well, first off, by menu planning, I can see at a glance what our food intake for the week looks like – making sure we’re not eating too much of one thing, or too little of another.  Secondly, I know what to take out of the freezer in the morning so I’m never caught at 5:00 with nothing to feed the family, and I’m never in a situation where I have to resort to eating out / packaged / processed / prepared food.

Sure, we have nights where we don’t get home until 5:30, and the kids are still young enough to need dinner at around 6.  So on those nights, we have quick-to-prepare dinners – things like pasta sauce on quinoa pasta, or a meat that can be quickly grilled on the barbecue.  And on those nights when we have more time at home, we can have dinners that take longer to cook – things like roast chickens.

Taking it one step further, I can also ensure that there are enough “intentional” leftovers that I have tasty things to throw in my lunchtime salads (I am quite certain that there is nothing better than left over roasted sweet potatoes in a salad . . . but that’s just my opinion).

We’re now so used to this routine, that the kids are taking part in the menu planning, and helping to cook the dinners as time allows.  This is adding yet another layer to my sanity as dinner is taking less time to prepare at night, the kids are FAR more willing to eat what they’ve cooked, and we all have more time to do the things that we need/want to get done.

So . .  . I know it’s now Sunday afternoon .  . . but maybe try even just packing your kids’s or your own bags for tomorrow and making sure that you have everything you need for the week.  See how even just that little change can make your weekdays go so much more smoothly . . .and if you can, add in the menu planning!

I promise, not only will you have some sanity back, you’ll also feel better from feeding yourself better!

(And of course . . . the real bonus . . . check out how your kids’ behaviour changes when they start eating more whole foods . . . yet another sanity saving tip!!)

Happy Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

35. Forever

I sat down this morning to figure out the week ahead – the logistics of who needed to be where and when, what activities were starting and what corresponding bags needed to be packed, and of course, based on who had what when, what our food requirements and menus would be like for the week.

Since it’s also the first week of school (which I kind of think is a whole lot better than new year’s), I wanted to start implementing the “me” time I’m trying to carve out for myself and the projects I’m going to tackle in this “me” time.

So I opened my Simplified Planner, and was about to get to work, when I read the quote in the planner for this week:

“Forever – is composed of Nows”
-Emily Dickinson

I put the pen down, the planner away, and completely changed my objectives for the day.  The planning can wait till later tonight, or early tomorrow morning.  Today was a day for enjoyment.  Enjoying the last day at the cottage for the summer, enjoying the stunning weather, enjoying being with my kids and the Husband.

So when they beckoned me off my perch where I was taking photos of them on what we have lovingly christened “Goose Poop Island”,  I listened.  (Thankfully I was already in my bathing suit)  I put my phone down and jumped in.

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As much as I like my plans and organization, I think the fun we had today will remembered for a long time to come (forever?) . . . and really, what’s more important???

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23. Home Again

We awoke today to the Bay looking more like the ocean than anything else.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  The rainbow that hung around for quite some time, well, that was the cherry on the top of the proverbial sundae of a wonderful weekend.

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But, despite the gorgeousness that was today, the city was calling – work for the Husband, and a week of fun (and errands and organizing) for me and the kids.  So we piled into the car, but since traffic wasn’t too bad, decided to take our time getting home.  For us, this means making a stop at one of the kids’ favourite playgrounds – the playground made by the Giver (a TVOKids show) in Waubaushene.  If you have kids – let them watch this show. It’s amazing.  And the playgrounds they create are so much fun!

And now, as the day comes to a close, I’m turning to planning for the week.  It’s a big week for us . . . I’m doing my Week in the Life for my little one this week – this will be my 3rd time documenting a week in the life of my little one.  All the photos and stories from each of the days of this week are going into an album for her.  It’s also the Husband’s birthday, and so we have several celebrations planned.  And of course, since I’m home with the kids, there’ll be lots of fun mommy/kids things this week.

I purchased my Simplified Planner to help me plan out things that I want to do – things just for me – it’s turning out to be so much more –  a keeper of my workouts, a place to store short, daily lists of to-do’s, and of course, a way to plan out my creative projects.  As I sit down tonight to plan my week, I’m SO happy I have this planner to help me organize it all.  Yup . . . . I really do LOVE this planner!  (and yes, I am indulging in a nice glass of wine while I plan!)

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Happy Sunday.  And wishing you a happy week ahead!

 

17. Planning. Simplified.

image.jpegWith both kids off at camp today, I had a few moments to myself to sit down and start planning with my new pink (!) Simplified Planner.

Let me first say that I LOVE this planner.  I didn’t know it was possible to love a planner so much, if at all, until I started using this one today.

So what is it about this planner that is so great?  Well, in the “How to Use Your Simplified Planner”, the planner’s creator, Emily Ley, states, in a variety of ways, that we should be making time for what matters.

And then, before the actual calendar pages start, there’s entire page dedicated to a personal 2016/2017 “Bucket List”.  It was this page that I was working on this afternoon.  I’ve talked before about how I don’t do particularly well with goals.  But making goals in the context of the next year AND what is most important to me, suddenly seemed so much more logical . . . No longer was I simply making a glorified to-do list under the heading “Goals”; I was instead making actual, achievable goals that will further how I want to feel, and how I want our lives (as a family) to feel.

Now, for the calendar part of the planner.  I chose the weekly planner, not the daily one.  This is because I prefer seeing an entire week over a 2-page spread.  And because I plan to use this purely for my “me” time, so it won’t be loaded with family commitments etc.  For each day of the work week, there is a ruled section to write whatever you want, as well as a list section with 7 spots, and a box for meal planning.  I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to use each section, and may even end up using the meal planning box to plan/record workouts.  But regardless of how I end up using it, I love the flexibility it allows, and how well laid out it is.

For the weekends, there is just 1 1/2 ruled sections as well as a checklist to help prepare of the week ahead.

Perhaps I love this planner so much because it puts into a concrete form all the things I’ve been trying to achieve on my own (routines regarding meals, tasks, activities).  Or it’s the fact that it feels so amazing – if you’re a paper person like me . . .this is simply gorgeous.  But of course, it could be the fact that the entire planner is laid out in rainbow colours.

While you can order this from Emily Ley directly, it is far more economical from an exchange rate perspective, to order it from Indigo, which is what I did.

And on that note, I’m off to plan some more of my week!

16. Finding the Joy in Coming Home (when I’d really rather still be up north)

I did NOT want to come home from up north today.  Not one little bit.  I didn’t want to pack.  I didn’t want to put shoes on (I never wear shoes up north, unless I have to get into the car to drive somewhere, which doesn’t happen often).  And I didn’t want to put on my watch.  But the kids are signed up for camps that are too expensive to cancel, and so . . .I packed, put on some shoes strapped on my watch, got in the car, and made our way home.

Softening the blow as I walked through the front door of our house was a few packages of things that I had ordered while we were away.

First up was a box of fabric from Brenda Riddle at Acorn Quilt and Gift Company that I can’t wait to start turning into a quilt.  It looks prettier than it did online, and I’m so excited to get my hands on it!

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Next was a big box from the gap/banana/old navy – all those clothes that I was lured into purchasing during their friends and family sale last week.  I liked what I ordered . . . and I liked the fact that finding a home for the new things I bought means tomorrow (ok, maybe over the next few days), I can do some cleaning out of all of our closets!

And lastly, but certainly not least, was a brand new, PINK! Simplified Planner.  I cannot wait to sit down with it tomorrow, once the kids have been dropped off a camp, with a coffee and pen in hand, and start planning!  If you’ve never seen these planners before, they are AMAZING!  So pretty to look at, and laid out so well, you won’t use another planner again.  Oh . . . and just to be perfectly honest, I’m using this planner to plan out MY activities.  Not those for the family, or the kids . . . just things for me.  Like when I’m going to work on said aforementioned quilt, or clean out those closets, or work on the other projects I have on the go.

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And so, while I was sad to see our vacation time end up north, coming home turned out not to be so bad either!

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