Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Changing routines!

So much has been going on around here!  Overwhelming doesn't begin to describe it.  The short version is that I have been in school to become an English Professor at the college level and am in my last semester of my Bachelor's degree.  I have decided (with my family's support) that I will continue on to pursue my Master's Degree. I was offered a job at Ivy Tech Community College.  Although it is currently part time tutoring in the TRIO program, it is still 20 hours a week.  I am also going to school during this semester so, in essence, I will still be gone from home almost as much as if I were working full-time.  

But the frugal part of me sees this as an opportunity to have the part time job pay for my Graduate classes.  It will take me a bit longer to get through my Master's courses but, cross your fingers, I won't end up with a mountain of debt when I am done.

This brings me to figuring out how to make this all work.  Although I have worked, it's been a very long time since I had full time out of the home hours.  I will work during the day and go to school a couple of evenings a week.  Plus my husband teaches late one night a week an on Saturdays.  Add to that, we are responsible for transportation for our son to and from school and all of his activities.  This should be interesting.  I know when I was a single Mom, working full time I had a system that worked well for us.  It's been over a decade since then so I'm working on tweaking that to make it a habit again.  Lord knows, without it, we'd eat out half the time and I'd have to devote every weekend moment playing catch up.  The first part of that is too expensive and the latter part I'm just too old for.  LOL.

To make things a little easier, I already do menu planning each week so that's not an issue.  The difference now will be taking some time on Sunday to do any prep work that I can do to save time through the week.  Since I do have two nights a week that I have classes, I have to factor in that those nights need treated differently as one of them is busy for my husband and son too.

Prep work would include browning any meat for the week's menus, chopping any veggies and portioning them out.  Casseroles can be made and put in the freezer, just make sure and take them out the night before.  Roasts can be browned for the crock pot and put in the fridge until needed.  If you cut potatoes, be sure to put them in a Ziploc full of water so they don't discolor.  You can brown hamburger for chili, tacos, sloppy joes, etc.  

The crock pot will be our friend on nights that I have class.  One of those nights, the hubby gets off at 5 downtown and our son has Scouts on the far south side at 7.  He's gotta get home, feed the short dude and get to Scouts.  The first week wasn't exactly a successful experiment with me starting the meal before I left and them finishing it.  So to the crock pot we go!  Many crock pot meals can be put together in a Ziploc baggie and frozen until ready to use.  Again, set the bag out the night before to thaw, then just pour into the crock pot and go.  

I also make a salad bowl (see a previous post) that lasts for several days and they'll eat it if it is ready.  I also cut up carrot sticks, celery sticks and put them into a Tupperware type bowl in the fridge with cherry tomatoes and whatever else you like on a veggie tray.  I keep a bowl or Ranch dip in there too, if it's easy, they'll eat it instead of something less healthy.  

I don't always make them eat only healthy, on Sunday, I'll also make the snack of the week.  Whether that is a batch of cookies, a pan of brownies or whatever.  This week I took some bananas that were turning and made banana bread and a couple of dozen banana nut muffins.  I toss them in a Ziploc and freeze them so they're easy to grab and toss in lunchboxes or to warm up for a snack.

There are more things but I'm still trying to remember what I did way back then and how to make it work now.  I'll add more to that later, as I remember.

I do know that the family calendar is a lifesaver!  I received this one for Christmas and I am loving it so far!

There is a line for each one of us plus a spot for notes.  It helps to keep things straight.  I'm playing with a calendar on my phone that supposedly you can share among family members, but I don't know how to share it yet.  My son ended up with it on his phone (I have no clue how) and he thought it was just on his phone so he started deleting things.  This, of course, deleted them on my phone too.  That was a nightmare so for now, we're sticking to old school and this calendar!  LOL

The other thing that really is helping a bunch is our message center that we created on the fridge.

Our thoughts are the top dry erase board is for "To-Do" list type of things.  Load the dishwasher, pack a lunch, etc.  The bottom one is reminders.  The Calendar says that Scouts are on Wednesday but there is a reminder note here for the hubby that Scouts are at 7 and where the meeting or drop off is (it's not always in the same place).  It has my son's nightly reminders as well.  

There is also a magnetic notepad for items needed from the Grocery.  There is also a magnetic clip for anything else that we need to make sure the other one sees.

I know it's hard to read in detail but the list under the pen cup is our weekly checklist for each room. This list is here because the men in my life are the "can't see the forest for the trees" kind of men.  So if they have a few minutes time to help me, they can see what's on this list and pick one.  Ideally, by the weekend, the list will have all items checked off.  Here is that list:
1.    Sweep floor
2.    Mop floor
3.    Clean out fridge
4.    Clean counter
5.    Clean stove & hood

1.    Clean mirrors
2.    Clean counter
3.    Sweep floor
4.    Mop floor
5.    Empty trash

1.    Vacuum carpet
2.    Dust
3.    Change sheets
4.    Clean TV screens

Living Room:
1.    Dust
2.    Vacuum
3.    Bag newspapers for recycling
4.    Straighten book bag area
5.    Return ‘strays’ where they belong

Dining Room:
1.    Clear Table
2.    Vacuum
3.    Straighten Jam area

Paperwork & Miscellaneous:
1.    Plan menus for next week
3.    Water plants
4.    Clean out vehicles & check fluids
5.    Check freezer stock
6.    Check pet food supplies

    This isn't a perfect list, but it's a start.  I am thankful that my guys are willing to pitch in and help out.  They know that we're a team and the goal at the end of this adventure will benefit all of us.  I know that I have to accept that they won't do things the way I would do them but they will be done.  And, theoretically, we should still have some time for us that doesn't involve catching up for the week.  I'll keep you posted on how it's working out!  LOL

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