Resolve to Have More Family Time

This week’s post is by Kim Bergeron of Extreme Coupon Professors.
We’re just past the middle of the first month in the new year. Some have made their resolutions and stuck with them and many have failed. Oh, and some, eh hum, the procrastinators, haven’t put theirs on paper yet. No matter what category you may fall into, there’s always a new morning to do the possible!
This year I’m on a mission and it’s to find more time in my day and more time with my family. And that doesn’t mean to stay up until 1 AM to find it either. What a relief, huh! In just a couple weeks, I’m glad to say that I’m making progress. I have been able to tweak some daily routines and have found some extra time. There are nights that I actually feel a little lost and I’ve been doing circles in the kitchen because I’m not used to having free time at the end of the day. What’s the million dollar answer you ask? Well here are some of our changes.
Meal planning.
Please trust me, it’s not as hard as you think it is. I begin by looking at my calender. We have five kids so that’s a lot of juggling at dinner time a lot of nights. I start by focusing on our busy nights and plan quick meals for those nights. Don’t be afraid to plan on pancakes one night or even a couple nights if you need to. Then. I look at the nights we’re home but we may be coming home right about dinner time. I’ll plan some crock pot meals for those nights. Finally, I look to see what nights I can plan on making bigger meals and I’ll put those meals on the calendar. I have found knowing ahead of time what we’re having has allowed me to start preparing some things in the morning when I have 10 minutes to spare before getting the kids off to school.  If you truly find it overwhelming to plan the whole week, then plan a few nights. You’ll appreciate how smoothly your evening goes that you’ll be penciling in meals on the calendar for the rest of the week.
Results:
Dinner time is not frazzled. I’m more relaxed and enjoying chatting with the kids at the same time. Because there are 7 of us getting ready in the mornings, I’ve also put on the calendar what breakfast is. For awhile some kids were making eggs, some were making yogurt fruit smoothies and others were having cereal. Our kitchen looked ransacked and if it was a day I was working, this is what I had to come home to. YUCK!  I tweaked mornings by only allowing simpler breakfasts during the week. I also won’t leave until everyone has cleaned up and put away all breakfast items, including their dishes.
Results:
I have found more time now when I get home.
The Clean Up Game. 

When my children were younger we used to be able to turn clean up time into a game. Turn the timer on and race to get all the toys put away before the timer goes off. Oh, the sweet. good ole’ days! Now it’s, “Kids, no one leaves until our chore list is done.”  I’ll be honest, at first I was getting a lot of, “Are we done yet?” Now, only two weeks into it, we have a great flow of getting things done as a team. We’re all doing this together. It’s been nice having dinner conversation carry over before everyone disappears into their rooms.
Getting It Done After Dinner List:
 
  • Dining room cleared.
  • Kitchen cleaned up and all dishes put away.
  • Sweep dining room and kitchen floors (Don’t say vacuum because that stops conversation flow. I’ll vacuum on my cleaning days.)
  • Make tomorrow’s school lunches.
  • Hang up any coats or backpacks that are laying around, put shoes in hall closet.
  • Start a load of towels or sheets .
  • If we’re having dessert, we’ll have dessert when our list is done and everyone washes their dishes and puts them away when they are done.
Results:
Mom doesn’t have to do it all herself, family worked together, there was together time and mom has found more free time at the end of the day. Just these few tweaks have made an enormous difference in our house. We have found time. Many nights there are a couple of kids sitting with me at the table with some game time. When we are, I’m not sitting there thinking of the mess around me or all I have to get done. Our chores are done and I’m enjoying my family time!   
On The Weekend

I’m always happy when a weekend arrives and I still do a little meal planning too. Some of the kids are in and out, some have friends coming over. Whoever is here, they enjoy eating at leisure so I typically make a hearty soup, stew or chowder that sits in my Ninja Cooking System for the afternoon. Everyone appreciates it, it goes a long way and I’m not forever cooking something for the “gang”. Last week was the first time I made a corn chowder. So easy, made a pot full and everyone loved it!
Here’s my recipe, but the fun thing about it is you can easily make it to your liking-add more bacon, use ham instead or even turkey bacon. Add a a couple diced carrots too. Whatever you may fancy.
Hearty Corn Chowder:
  • 1 lb of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 cans of cream corn
  • 2 cans of corn, undrained
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 6-8 potatoes, chopped to bit sizes-NOT peeled
  • 6 cups of water or chicken broth
  • Combine all these ingredients in your crock pot or Ninja Cooking System. Cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours.
When ready to serve: 
  • Add 2 cans of evaporated milk
  • 3 Tbls of butter
Mix, allow to heat through and serve. If chowder is too think, just add more broth. I started mine in the morning. Cooked it on High and everyone had some throughout the day.  There were recipes that called for half and half or heavy cream, but I like being able to have the cans of evaporated milk on hand whenever I want to make this.  Some recipes also called for a bag of frozen corn. As you can see, it’s to your liking and to your convenience.
Enjoy your family time!
I’m a wife, mommy and a lover of life enjoying everything from playing board games to cooking to traveling. Finding deals for our family has allowed us to do the fun things in life with enjoyment and less stress. When I find a deal I’ll always share it on my blog, Extreme Coupon Professors. Hop on over to see all the ways to save!