Good morning fit friends. I hope your week is off to a great start. I am still wrestling my new hair and bangs and seriously regretting my decision to cut them both - NOT because it doesn't look good...but because I actually have to do my hair now. I am a sleep-with-wet-hair kind of girl and this is really cramping my ability to hit the snooze button in the morning. My hair looks 100% healthier now though, so it is SO worth it.
The other day on my Facebook page, I sent out a blast asking for what our readers wanted to hear. It was pretty unanimous that people were interested in meal prep and recipes. Ask and you shall recieve. I wrote a blog a while back about my weekly meal planning and how the hubby and I organized our meals for the week. Click here to refresh your memory or to get caught up. It is a great place to start, because today I will go into my daily schedule/planning and share some of my favorite fall ---> winter recipes that we use a lot at our house.
As most of you know, I work outside of the home, and so this is a schedule/food and exercise plan that works best for me. It is a little bit of a follow up to some of you in response to Marta's organization posts that had asked about people that aren't lucky enough to be at home throughout the day. Here is a glimpse into my day: when I workout, what a typical day of meals looks like, and what my evenings look like too. My hubby is usually gone before I even start my workout, so this is all done solo ( just so you can have an idea of what it looks like - your schedule can be tweaked if you have an extra set of hands in the morning).
4:45 am (yep) - First alarm goes off. I am up and at 'em by 5:15 so that I can get my workout in for the day. Right now I am in a CrossFit phase and loving the short and effective workouts. This is done on an empty stomach, and I drink a lot of water while I exercise.
5:45 - 6:30 - Shower Time. I am in the shower no later than 6:00 because I have to get the boys up by 6:30 so that we can leave on time. I shower, dress and do my make-up. I usually pick out my clothes the night before - this helps a lot. I try to use 6:20 - 6:30 every morning to work just a bit checking in with my challengers and making sure I have answered any emails that came in after I went to bed (I go to bed early so I can get up early!)
6:30 - 7:00 - Breakfast with the boys. Boys lights on and up to the breakfast table as quick as possible. We eat together at the table. The boys choose Pumpkin Pancakes or Gluten Free Chex and some fruit. I usually have my Shakeology smoothie in the morning - usually just adding a banana and ice. It is packed with nutrients and will hold me over into the late morning where I will have another breakfast-like snack once I get to work.
7:00 - 7:15 - Boys dressed, car warmed up and packed, coats on and out the door by 7:15. Again, boys clothes are set out the night before so we have no fighting and struggles. It is a quick exchange, but I have to literally peel them out of bed at 6:3o, I refuse make it earlier if I don't have to. We pack lunches the night before for everyone (since my hubby can help then), and I grab some coffee with seasonal creamer and head out the door.
7:15 - 8:15 - Commute and Personal and Family time. I am blessed that my sister, Marta, watches my kids during the day. I drop the boys off with her, exchange in some great conversations and head to work. It takes me about 15 minutes to get to her house and then 20 to then get to work. With stops and traffic, the whole process takes about an hour. I use this time to my advantage - rarely rocking out to tunes. I use this time for phone calls to family and friends, catching up with my sisters or dad, or listening to business-related phone calls, or other personal development while in route. Some times I even listen to Audible and catch up on some books. I never get to read as much as I'd like, so this is ME time - and I definitely use every minute of it.
8:15 - 4:30 Kindergarten Teacher Bliss: I am a kindergarten teacher and I love every minute of this job. I work hard during the days and am super-efficient with my time, trying my hardest not to waste my moments so that I can leave each day at 4:30 and pick up my boys and start my evenings with them. Here is my meal breakdown during the work day:
8:45 - 9:00 Morning Snack: I am fortunate to have a microwave in my classroom, so mid morning I usually grab a bite of my Egg Casserole. We make them on Saturdays or Sundays so that we have filling breakfasts for me and the hubby throughout the week. I don't have time to whip up eggs each morning, so this works great for us. I pop it in the microwave and eat with a fork right before my kids come in each day at 9:00 - I wait as long as I can because we don't have lunch until 12:30.
12:30 - 1:00 Lunch Time: We do a lot of left-overs for our lunches. I often bring meatloaf or grilled chicken or fish that we had the night before with a side of veggies and a piece of fruit. I love Haley's ideas here about how to prep lunches for the full week. I like to be "excited" about my lunch, because if I'm not, it makes for a long afternoon - this is why left-overs work great for me. During my lunch break I am able to check my emails and, again, answer business related questions or check-in again with my challengers that need support.
2:30 - 3:00 Afternoon Snack: I try to hold off on snack as long as I can so that I am not ready for dinner by 5:00 early bird special. I am obsessed with the Think Thin Bars (gluten free and low in sugars). These are always something that fill me up and keep me satisfied until dinner. Kettle corn is another favorite of mine. I buy the 100 calorie individual packs and pop them in my room during the students' snack time. Skinny Pop and Andrea's Gluten Free options are great as well and ready made. I am also a big fan of the seasonal creamers offered for coffees. The other day I was experimenting and have a new obsession. Black Chai tea with Pumpkin Spice creamer. Yum doesn't even cut it. Tea and a light snack is the perfect afternoon craving killer for me, and I love the little caffeine boost through the afternoon - even if it is mostly mental.
4:30 - 5:30 Afternoon Commute and more Personal Time. Again I am able to make important phone calls to student parents, clients, coaches, and family as needed. I try to schedule a lot of my necessary phone calls during this daily commute to cut back on missing out on time with my kids in the evening. We are usually home between 5:00 and 5:30 depending on what time I get out the door and how much time I spend chatting with my big sis about things.
5:30 - 6:00 Work and Tech Time. I try not to abuse technology with the boys too much. When we get home, I need a little time to get caught up on work stuff and check in with my challengers, as well as start prepping for dinner. I usually plop my laptop up on the kitchen counter and multi-task. I prep dinner while I check things online and this is the time that I do let the boys have a favorite show or play with iPads, etc. See below for some of our easy and quick dinner meals we enjoy during the late Fall and early Winter. If it takes longer than 30 minutes, I would probably prep it or pre-bake it on Sunday.
6:00 - 7:00 Family Time. Play with the boys while dinner is cooking, read books, snuggle with a favorite movie, or just chill out. During the winter in the midwest, it is dark by 5:00 which is a huge bummer. I miss the spring and fall options to head to the park right after work and play and run around. We do have a mini trampoline in our basement and try to do activities that burn up some energy. We have plenty of room to play in our basement, so I am often running up and down the stairs to check dinner and spend time with the boys.
7:00 - 7:30 Dinner. We try to eat together as a family each night. Even if that means a picnic in the living room. Sometimes my hubby makes it home for dinner during the weeknights, and sometimes he is at games or traveling with the teams he coaches. The boys eat the same things that my husband and I eat. I do not cook more than one meal each night. I may add in more sides like a fruit or salad if we are trying something new for the main dish. This is sacred time together and I know that as they get older and join teams and have evening activities, that it will erase some of the options to eat together, so for now - we try not to miss it.
7:30 - 8:00 Bedtime Routine. My boys get a bath or shower each night. We usually rotate back and forth. They definitely don't need it every night, and every so often we do skip it, but it is just a great part of our routine, and it is something they get to do together. We have two bathrooms in our house and I use it as an excuse to multi-task. I can't think of how many times I sat there on the toilet watching as they played and laughed. Now, on Mondays, they do a shower, and I clean the bathroom while they shower for 10 minutes. It's not a deep clean and doesn't include the shower - since they are in it, but it is the one and only time I have to touch-up my bathroom during the week. Tuesdays, while they bathe in the other bathroom, I tackle the toilets and floors. and mirrors over there. By Tuesday, both bathrooms are clean and ready for the week. After a quick shower and cleaning spree, we hop in our jammies, brush our teeth and pick out books. Each boy picks out a book for the night and we read them together on the couch. Then, we put the boys in their beds and kiss them goodnight.
8:00 - 8:30 Clean Up and Prep Meals for the next day. This is when I pack up leftovers for the next day or make a new lunch, and pack the boys' lunches and snacks for daycare. The hubs is a great helper during this time - often packing lunches or tackling the pile of dishes we created during dinner. We do a quick run-through on the mess in the kitchen and keep an eye on boys that are trying to escape their bedrooms for an extra hug or 90.
8:30 - 9:30 Me Time, Hubby Time, and Extras. Once all of my commitments are finished, I can finaly sit down and relax. I can watch a show if I want, gossip with the hubby, fold laundry, check my email and check in with challengers, or just put my feet up with a glass of wine. I think I've earned it. I usually pick out an outfit for myself fo the next day, as well as sneak into sleeping boys' rooms and grab their clothes and lay them out too. Luckily, they don't care what they wear, so whatever I choose goes over just fine...for now.
9:30 - 10:00 Bedtime. I am wiped at the end of the day and literally can hardly hold my eyes open some times. Brush my teeth, wash my face and I am out like a light. Falling asleep is no problem for me. I need my sleep to tackle another work day.
I hope this helps you understand the planning that works for me and my working family. It may not work for every family, but it is a great starting point so that you can tweak and make changes accordingly for what works best for you.
As promised here are some staple recipes that get us through the work week during the colder months:
Weight Watchers Chicken Pot Pie - sub GF Bisquick
Katie Joel's Meatloaf - sub Flax Meal for Breadcrumbs to make GF (we would do this on a Sunday)
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Tacos - literally every week and at most family gatherings
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
Slow Cooker Gone All Day Beef Stew - sub GF flour
Thanks for checking in with us today. We hope you found something helpful to get you through these cold winter months. Have a great Tuesday.