September brings with it a sense of new beginning. We welcome cooler days, cozy sweaters and fall foliage that is breathtaking. Some of you are preparing to send your baby off to kindergarten for the first time. I still remember that first time up the walkway to the school. It was a mix of excitement, hesitation…and crying. (Don’t worry, I didn’t let them see me!) My boys are 9 & 11 and even still, I miss them when they head off to school in September. Each year I feel like I lose my babies a little bit, but I gain young men who surprise me with their intellect, creativity and compassion for others. Just to keep it real though, they still act like goof balls, can be extremely messy and drive me crazy! For others, you are preparing to send your big kid out into the world as they begin post secondary education, travel or begin their working career.
Whether you have children or not, there is a feeling of getting back to routine after a busy summer. Fall activities amp up, new projects begin at work and the holiday mentality of summer fades away. Here is the thing though. You are in charge of your thoughts and how you approach this new season. In years past, I’ve felt like the schedule got the better part of me and I was left trying to play catch up all year. This year, I want to set myself and my family up for success. Below are a few ideas on how to own your new routine, not have your routine own you!
Plan for success. Sit down with your calendar and begin plotting in anything and everything you can think of. Make sure to include all family members schedules as well. Consider using an online calendar that can be synced together automatically. Now, take a good hard look at the calendar. Do you feel excited by what you see or overwhelmed? Decide what stays and what goes. Learn to gracefully say no and not feel bad about it. We function best when we know what is expected of us. For myself, I require the visual reminder on the fridge to keep me feeling on top of it all.
Plan for breakfast. A friend and I were chatting and she shared that breakfasts are scheduled in her house too. Why this hadn’t occurred to me before is beyond me! I used to think that breakfast was a time to choose your own thing. In a world where everyone makes their own breakfast, this is a great plan. In a world where the adults are making breakfast for the family, being a short order cook first thing in the morning, just isn’t! Decide ahead of time what type of breakfast foods work well for each day. Save labour intensive breakfasts for slower paced mornings. On the weekend, we will typically make waffles or pancakes. I try to make lots and then freeze the extra. Mid-week, I can just pull out frozen waffles and pop them in the toaster. Easy, peasy and SO much better than the store bought variety!
Plan for lunch and make it the night before! HUGE help!!! Download my lunch planner here. Have each person in the family fill it out to the best of their ability. For small children, have an older sibling or adult help them or simply ask them to draw pictures of the food they like. This makes it easier to know what to buy and what to pack to ensure it all gets eaten. Lunch time at school is not the time to experiment with new flavours and textures. Send the foods you know will get eaten.
Plan for supper. Supper time menu planning has been a huge sanity saver for us! I plan for 5 supper meals per week. I find that if I plan any more than that, our food waste increases significantly. Inevitably, we are invited out for dinner or we have enough leftovers to create an extra meal through the week. Each person in our family gets to choose a meal for the week. This way, we all feel like we have a say in our weekly menu.
Plan for food prep. Carve out some time on the weekend to get ready for the week. This typically includes the cutting of veggies and fruit, tearing lettuce for salad and sandwiches, hard boiling eggs and baking either muffins, cookies or granola bars. Get the whole family involved, put on some music and have some fun together. Visit my recipes page for all kinds of yummy snacks to get you through the week.
Now I know that this all sounds like SO much planning. I promise you this though, in planning your week out, you will in fact create extra moments that you didn’t know you had to fill with all kinds of spontaneity!
Wishing you and your family a fantastic September!