1. Meal planning: Rotate the same five meals for two weeks. Then switch to another set of 5 or keep the same rotation for the duration of the month. This makes grocery shopping quick and easy, and the meals I've selected are ones I can make in my sleep- tacos, buffalo chicken salad, chicken nachos, turkey bacon sweet potato hash, and Italian chicken soup. I'm also bringing the same side to every Thanksgiving dinner (we have 3), balsamic brussels sprouts with parmesan cheese. aka- cruciferous crack.
As for breakfast, we rotate eggs, oatmeal, and our plant based protein shakes from Juice Plus.
Lunch is either peanut sandwiches, protein shakes from Juice plus, eggs, salad, or leftovers.
Snacks are apples, string cheese, bananas, greek yogurt, veggie straws, Kefir, carrots, and kids Cliff bars. This list never changes because the Giblers are creatures of habit.
2. Christmas shopping. We are spending $15 on each kid. Yes, $15. There is no judging from me if you choose to spend $1, 500. This is just what we've decided. Because one, we have another move ahead of us and hand to God, there are 60 trash bags of unused toys in our storage unit. Second, our kids are used to getting two gifts from us, so it won't feel much different. And they are ok. They don't need mountains of toys to open. In fact, they are just as excited with what we give them, as they are when Nana gives them 5 presents each. We also make Christmas morning about more than just the toys. We eat a special breakfast together, watch a cartoon, and read the Christmas story. The story is usually boring to them, but everything else brings excitement which is nice, because I want their excitement to not just be around the toys, but the experience as a family.
And, I'm already done with their gifts and it took one trip to Target's $1 section and a 30 minute session on Amazon. Bray got one lego set. Brooks got some balls. And I got Avery Elsa slippers and craft supplies. Done and done. As for everyone else, I'm almost done thanks to Costco and Amazon. The key (for me) is finding stores that flow with my daily rhythms. Right now, because I don't have much time to visit stores or shop online, that means Costco, Target, and Amazon are my zones.
3. A friend of mine told me about this app called Chore pad. Each kid has their own icon. Within each icon there are individualized chore lists. Once a chore is completed they check it off the list and receive points. She has morning and evening routines on there (brush your teeth, get dressed). After a certain number of points (of your choosing) they can cash them in for a prize (of your choosing- more screen time, a special dessert). I love the idea, because each kid has clear expectations and it makes them responsible. It also removes my constant reminders- we all need less of this in our lives.
4. I'm taking time to laugh with the kids, especially if I find myself irritable or stressed. Usually this means I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes and that 15 minutes is dedicated to tickle fights, hide in seek, or building a quick fort. I know it may sound ridiculous that I need to do this, but at this stage every moment of non-"I need you mommy" time is dedicated to work or our house. It won't always be this way, but for now fitting in at least two of these 15 minutes sessions is my way of connecting with the kids outside of meals, potty, and bedtime.
|You guys. She still doesn't wear clothes. And when I make her she cries, "I so hot! I so hot, mama!"|
|I fear they will not fare well when we move and they have their own rooms.|
|That one time we hung out in our tank tops, then hours later it was below freezing.|
|Nana did not realize Av had pink eye shadow on that brush|
|I love my Teva Sandals so much that they become my house shoes in the fall and spring.|