Me? Plan?

11 Aug

Yes!  I confess, each time that someone recommended for me to plan meals, I literally cringed and groaned.  My anxiety rose and I immediately dismissed the idea.  Little did I know…I was embarking on a failed course.

How many times did I not plan a meal, the clock turned 5:00 pm and I had nothing thawed to cook?  Too many times to count!  And on those nights, how often did we abandon the kitchen and grab Chick-Fil-A or Wendy’s?  Too many times to count!

As I’m venturing on the couponing 101 journey, I’ve discovered a new freedom.  Ironically, when I plan a meal, I feel freer!  Weird sensation.  Yet if I plan to use the crock pot, I simply take out the meat the night before.  It’s perfect for the next morning when I throw the ingredients into the slow cooker.  So far this week, I’ve used the crock pot three times – for a whole fryer, boneless pork ribs and boneless chicken tenders.  It is easy to boil rice or vegetables and make a side salad.  Little time and minimal clean-up.  Best of all, I love how meat tastes when it’s cooked at a low heat for several hours.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the meals have been edible!  Remember, I’m not a cook by any stretch of the imagination so I’m thrilled that the meat is not overcooked or dry; and that my children eat it is an extra bonus!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll tackle another plan: a chore chart.  Like meal planning, I rejected a chore chart for yearsMy kids should know by now what I expect done in the house, I’d think angrily or I am not paying my kids to do simple chores that every member of the family should be doing and How hard is it to keep a bedroom tidy and put clothes away?

A wise homeschooling mother gently reminded me that children need specific direction (and lessons on how to do the chore correctly).  It may seem a no-brainer to me, but to a child it is a monumental learning task, a critical life skill.  I need to be very patient and teach the girls (and eventually my son) what areas need to be cleaned and how to do it effectively and efficiently.  Also, I must match the chore responsibility to the appropriate age and not demand too much.

So, beginning in September, my girls will have morning and afternoon chores.  Making her bed, picking clothes off the floor, cleaning her breakfast dishes, wiping her spot at the table, and tidying the living room before daddy gets home from work.  I plan to assign each daughter light kitchen duty (to help me get the table set and drinks ready) as well as the dreaded task of collecting trash once per week.  I’ll rotate so it is fair.  No money will be given for these basic chores – however – if any of the children performs an extra task without being formally asked or offers to clean out a drawer, organize a closet or wash windows, I’ll certainly assign a monetary value and award her.

I hope that this works for us….Even more, I hope that I get the opportunity to create a chart and post it to the refrigerator before Labor Day weekend!

I can’t believe I’m evolving into a planner!  Very unlike my character.  Or maybe I simply needed to be awakened and encouraged to try it.

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