Longer days of Spring bring welcome rays of warm sunshine but also work projects, lawn maintenance and activities for the kids.
One of the ways busy families find time for more important priorities has been to take advantage of restaurants and delivery service. On average for this nation we eat takeout 4 to 5 times a week.
As our youngest foodie recently told me, there’s no greater love than a home cooked meal.
Creative Cooking 101
Who says we have to use the same formula for cooking every night? Over the years we’ve found some time saving techniques as alternatives to eating in restaurants or take out.
Weekends are a great time for the family to buy groceries and prepare food items for the coming week. Our girls loved to select veggies for salad for one night. Leftover vegetables can then be thrown into a pan for stir fry the next. Leftovers are great to throw together on those nights when the families activities cut into dinner.
The local produce stand or farmers market are great fun activities for all and for seasonal produce you can’t beat going to the local orchards to pick your own. By using the time to do it together, it becomes more of a time saver than a burden.
Most markets sell fresh caught wild fish which can be broiled or sautéed in less time it takes to order a meal online.
2. Clean Up
One of the greatest motivators in our family is fun. When it comes to laughter and joking our family takes it seriously. So, as the kids were growing my husband and I included them in on the daily chores of the household. This cuts down on the hours required to clean house and gave us more opportunities for the business of play.
Start them young and it becomes a habit for life. Even a toddler can learn to pick up his or her puzzle pieces as part of the “game."
3. Containing The Chaos
Individual schedules and busy lives plus life’s surprises can lead to chaos.
My husband used our dinner times to talk with the girls about their needs and our expectations. I didn’t always want to take that time to discuss “business”. But, years later, I see how his attention to detail helped shape them into responsible young adults today. As a self employed writer, I was able to teach, guide and direct them during the “teachable” moments of the day. When they woke up we’d talk about their day and what they needed to have done. When we drove to an extracurricular activity, I’d stay in the car to wait for them and used the time to write lists, work on projects for my writing, or clean the car out.
In our home, everyone pitched in and had clear boundaries for getting their jobs done. That way, when something wasn’t done, we knew who to call.
From day one we used a calendar to help the girls visualize time management . We used a fun magnetic one as toddlers which showed their accomplishments and rewards for the day. This gradually became a large cork board/white board we kept in the laundry room for everyone’s schedule to be posted.
It was their jobs to keep their school/ sporting events up to date, and social activities posted as well. This helped save time when sports, school outings and social activities are at their peak.
5. Controlling the Budget
We keep our financial records and receipts in one place in a desk in our home. This helps to save time on money management. We also save time by agreeing to a limit of money we want to spend for any given item.
That way when the bills come around there is less confusion and enough capital to cover the expenses.
Hope these simple tips help you to have a happy Spring!
Share some of your family’s tips in the comment section below.