Summer is officially over and school has started back. We had such a lovely non-routine going during the summer that we are not looking forward to getting back into the grind of school year routines. Tiny is REALLY not looking forward to it.
I have a multi step process that I complete every weekend to streamline my work week. First, I make sure that by Sunday, all uniforms (my daughter’s school has a uniform policy) and preschool clothes (with all socks, undies, everything) are laid out and in the appropriate day’s cubby. Check out my laundry process here.
Then I move on to lunches. I am a huge fan of meal prepping for the week. I make sure that all Papa Bear’s sandwiches, and Tiny’s lunches are individually packaged, wrapped and ready in the bottom right drawer of our fridge. I keep all parts and pieces contained in a single drawer so that it doesn’t take up much space, but also so that I can keep it together and quickly put together lunches the night before. Just take it out in the AM and it is ready to go. Tiny is a little picky, and I like to make sure she is getting whole foods, servings of fruit and vegies that I know she will eat, and juice or milk to drink. If she gets food court at school, she will only eat about half of it. You can’t learn if you are hungry, so I make sure she has everything she needs. Check out my lunch prep method here.
Then there are the “things” we will need the next day. I have a specific space and basket for each of us. We put bookbags, lunch bags (emptied of the previous day’s contents) projects, etc. in this basket that we will need the next day. Each person has their own basket so that we keep everything together and divided so that they don’t get jumbled together. It alleviates the last minute “I can’t find my homework!!!” panic.
The last thing I do on the weekends to make my week a little smoother is meal plan for dinners. I like to cook enough the night before to have lunches or leftovers at least one other day that week. I plan for 5 dinners – weeknights – and usually have left overs one night, and eat out one night or order pizza. We generally have chicken nuggets in the freezer with peas or corn and baked fries at least one meal (usually a weekend lunch) per week – the kids would eat them every day if I allowed it. The other thing that makes my life easier is following grocery store sales cycles. When ground beef goes on sale, I buy enough for the month and then brown it with salt, pepper and garlic (pretty much everything I cook has those three ingredients in it) and some sweated onions. I package it so that if we want lasagna or spaghetti, the meat is done, I just throw together a salad, some bread and cook the pasta. This may take 20 minutes tops. In my area of the country, there are usually different weeks that feature chicken, ground beef and other meats on different weeks. Stock up, bulk cook and prep, and all is easier in the long run. I have a bulk cooking post here from travel weeks, but the method is similar for normal weeks as well.