New School Year Resolutions

by Daisy on 08/10/2016

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I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions.

Maybe because it doesn’t come at a point in the year when I felt in need of a real transition.

The end of summer vacation and the beginning of the new school year, however, is a significant adjustment in my house. It also marks a change of seasons (soon), and a corresponding shift in gardening duties.

There are several things I’d like to change as the kids go back to school. I’d like to list them here, and ask your advice on how to make it happen.

Here we go:

  • Maintain a starter and bake bread at least weekly
  • Plan school lunches ahead and prepare the foods that will go in them in advance
  • Cook a week’s worth of beans ahead of time (freezing if necessary)
  • Simplify the kids’ wardrobes and plan clothes a week at a time
  • Keep the granola jar filled
  • Succession sow spinach and lettuce and greens weekly

The thread that runs through these things, I think, is advance planning. Unfortunately, I’m the person who says, ‘Let’s have bean soup for dinner!’–ten minutes before dinnertime.  My problem isn’t finding the time, it’s having the foresight and discipline to schedule things so that I can have enough time to get it done.

This leaves my family with uninspired store bread, tired old lunches, canned bisphenol beans, and school morning panic because I stopped a kid from walking out the door with holey kneed pants and we can’t find anything to replace them in the behemoth cursèd mound o’ laundry.

What are you made of, O Mound? All I can ever find in you is orphan socks, tights (we don’t wear tights anymore), shirts that are nice but no one wants to wear for unknown reasons, and escapees from that 12-pack of underwear I mistakenly bought 5 sizes too big and never returned.

I once found something in the laundry no one recognized and a child burst out, “It must belong to the person who lives in the attic!”

Everyone in the room stopped short.

After some questioning, I finally determined my offhand comment weeks earlier that there must be someone living in the attic who was responsible for a series of unsolved household messes had been taken literally.

Poor thing. At least now I know who didn’t make those messes.

If you have any advice concerning how I can stick to the things on my list or how to do them better, please let me know in the comments. I just got this book in the mail with school lunch ideas and the kids are really digging it (I heard lots of whoas, and yums, and that was just me), but I still need tips. ETA: My 11 year-old told me this morning, as I ladled hot tortellini soup into their thermoses, that this book was THE BEST thing I’d ever bought.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurel August 11, 2016 at 3:39 am

As to your organizing and scheduling. It boils down to routines you can live with. For house cleaning, zones the house and gives daily household tasks in that specific zone. Flylady is so wonderful. You sound like a S.H.E. (stay at home executive) From what I know of you by subscribing to your blog, you wonderfully and creatively do things ..a lot of things and that gets you sidetracked. and then things (uhem, don’t get done) I encourage you to hang in there and go visit that website.

Kimer August 11, 2016 at 5:13 am

White Boards! My husband swears by them!

Leslie August 11, 2016 at 5:31 am

I’ll second Kimer. I have a white board calendar on my refrigerator. There I list appointments, last time someone took their medicine, how long the chicken needs to roast and what time to start it and a list of things that need to be done today. Since I’m in the kitchen often I see it several times a day. Plus it’s strangely satisfying to erase one task after another.

Sarah August 11, 2016 at 5:48 am

As to maintaining a starter, we have a weekly tradition of pancakes once a week, and somewhere back in antiquity, I mentally connected the task of making those pancakes with feeding my starter. So now every time I get out the flours for pancakes, I fill a half cup with flour for my starter and I mix that up while I’m am mixing up pancakes. This doesn’t necessarily give me bread once a week, but it works for me.

Could you take time to make mixes in a jar? I found that helps a lot with the oh-my-goodness-what-should-I-make-today syndrome.

Sallie August 11, 2016 at 8:09 am

I don’t know that I have any great tips. I cook things in bulk and freeze ingredients. I will soak 2 lbs of beans overnight and then cook them the next day. Put the cooked beans in packets and freeze so I am ready for tacos, salad or soups. I had a friend who was from a BIG Catholic family and they all made sandwiches on Sunday afternoon so they had lunches for the week. 6 PBJ’, 6 ham and cheese, and every one got a bag for Monday,etc. Laundry…I just put a load in he washer first thing in the morning and get it over with. Sometimes I put the clothes in the washer and turn it on in the morning. Sounds like your tribe needs to get in on the action…….by the time my guys got to high school they were responsible for their own wash. We just have to jocky for time in the laundry room.

Sallie August 11, 2016 at 8:11 am

Correction: I would load the washer at night and turn the washer on in the morning.

MCM August 14, 2016 at 6:21 am

One tip I learned from a co-worker that has really helped to speed up lunch and dinner prep is making a week’s worth of salad on Sunday. The trick is to lay out large clean kitchen towels and spread everything out to dry after you wash it. I lay carrots, red peppers, or anything else that stains on paper towels. Let everything get completely dry, then store it in a airtight container in the fridge. I think my co-worker has a giant Rubbermaid container (or similar), but I use a big glass bowl with plastic wrap and that has worked fine. The salad keeps for up to a week that way.

MCM August 14, 2016 at 6:22 am

I should have said to lay everything out to dry after you wash it and cut it up. 🙂 So then all you have to do once it’s dry is mix it in the container.

Daisy August 14, 2016 at 6:17 pm

MCM–Thank you for the tip. Very nice.

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