This post is later than I was expecting to post, but January is only just over, and we used it to set up a few foundations to build upon this year.
Since January is the first month of the year, I decided to implement some foundations, new routines and habits to build on this year. Keeping in mind my main goal this year was to have more time, for socialising, quality time with my husband and to actually enjoying the house (keeping in mind I’m somewhat of a homebody), rather than working in it.
The biggest thing I have implemented is having a diary. It makes things really easy for me, hubby would make plans at the same time we had other things on and so encouraging him to write social plans or doctors appointments in has really made a difference, especially if it’s something we want to go to together as we can make the appropriate requests at work. I use it for our rosters as well, but we also have a roster app that we can enter our own rosters into and then share, to help coordinate appointments and plans we need to make with each other. Additionally I have started to use the diary to plan the house tasks, meal planning, vacuuming and laundry. It doesn’t just have to be for the budget while I really do use it for that too so I don’t miss things.
Meal Prepping and Planning:
In January I also bought a meal planning notepad from Kmart for $4 and using that to plan meals according to our work rosters. The rosters are something I have no control over, so we have to prepare to manage meals without buying convenience food and spending more money while throwing out food we’ve bought at home because we weren’t here or didn’t have time to prepare and cook it.
In our house the meal planning realistically comes down to lunches and dinners. I don’t eat breakfast, yes I know this isn’t recommended, I usually have a coffee and then a brunch anytime from 11am, whereas hubby can’t cope without a breaky.
- Smoothies – for quick grab and go to prevent the drive through
- Cereal – quick and easy
- I like to keep oats in the pantry, for cooking in addition to a breakfast option – I like to put oats in the thermie though and I can prepare coffee or do a quick tidy up of the kitchen while it cooks
We are meant to be eating better and healthier, and lunches are the hardest parts in our house. Hubby doesn’t like to have the same things every day so I had to have a think.
- Salads – I had to have a think about what do put into them to make them filling as hubby worries salads aren’t filling enough
- Wraps – salad ingredients can be used on wraps and alternated to avoid boredom
- Smoothies – these are mostly for me as I leave for work at 12 and I can drink it on the way
- Bacon and Eggs – when we both have the day off at the same time we like to have a cook up brunch together
- Soup – although it might seem odd during summer soup is a really healthy option and something you can freeze
- Leftovers for work days
Evening meals need to be versatile for us as we spend a lot of our nights having dinner at work, I work afternoon shifts meaning I have dinner at work 9 days a fortnight, while hubby has around 5 a fortnight. At the beginning of each week, or at the end of the week prior I look at our rosters, have a chat to hubby to see if he has any requests and make a plan accordingly. I like to incorporate the thermomixes for convenience, hubby finds that and the pressure cooker really easy to use which means when he’s home for dinner and I’m not he can make something that leaves us with leftovers.
This week’s dinners:
While they aren’t that healthy, at least the rest of the week was and I’m planning to make a list of dinners as a go-to for variety.
- Homemade Pizza – I made the dough and hubby did the toppings, something we consider a good dinner for when we are having dinner together
- Creamy tomato and chorizo fettuccine – one of my favourite thermomix dinners and a sometimes food, but delicious and provides leftovers
- Beef stew and dumplings – thermomix and again provides leftovers
- Soup – I like to have pumpkin soup and turkish toast at work
House Keeping Routine:
Other than food, the other main issue taking up our time and getting on top of us each week is general day to day tasks around the house. I feel as though because we don’t have a “routine” things get missed, and we spend the time we have trying to prepare for meals and other things like the laundry are struggling to keep up.
Because I have the regular roster, the “routine” part is going to be up to me, and I usually ask and allocate hubby days or times when he’s home to help.
House Keeping Plan/Routine:
- Grocery shopping and meal prep Mondays – this is my regular day off and I can do a quick shop and prep at dinner time that night – usually planning and cooking two dinners at once to get a head-start
- Laundry on mornings before work – ideally every second day to keep up and put washing away as soon as it comes off the rack (which is something we usually keep up with)
- With 4 cats we need to vacuum regularly and since Monday is my “home-day” I usually do a really thorough vacuum then, but we whip around with the stick vac in between, something I need to do every second day also
- General tidy each night before bed or before heading to work for an afternoon shift
- Dishwasher – ensure it goes on after dinner (or whenever it’s full) and we usually unpack it either first thing in the morning or while dinner is cooking and prepare to repack as we go
- Kitty litter at least second daily
While this all sounds very busy, the main thing that’s working this month is spending 30-60mins in the morning for maintenance. A simple morning routine before work means I can get up at 9am, put on the washing, fold the old washing and put it away, unpack the dishwasher while I make my coffee, prep and start dinner, whip around with the stick vac, hang out the washing and by 10:30 I can sit on the balcony with a book and my coffee for an hr. Leaving time for yoga in the living room, and a shower before work, or a visit to the gym on the way to work.
One of the big changes we wanted to make while trying to be healthier was exercise. So we decided we should try and get to the gym, for a walk or whatever we decided to do at least every second day. For me it means getting up by 9am, and alternating the exercise day with the house maintenance day, or even if it is a house day I can do some pole practice or yoga at home. I have even recommenced pole dancing classes.
Making plans with friends was more about having the time available and catching up with coffee, we have holidays coming up and have a family member coming to visit for the first week and a BBQ planned for the second week.
While this all looks like a lot of things to implement, when I usually say making small changes work the best and allow a routine to be more sustainable, a lot of tasks I was already doing last year. The problem was that I would either manage to keep the house really tidy and organised and meal planning failed, or I would hang out with friends and the house would completely fall apart, meaning I would go out more and rather not be in it or look at it until I had time to get it back. Now I have created a routine, it really have been easier to juggle and coordinate not being home in the evening, and establish a healthier lifestyle that hopefully we can sustain this year. Who knows it might even alleviate some of the stress too.
We have managed to create a plan to hopefully stay on top of for the year. No big changes, just building on what we had. Making sure we use the diary, plan, shop and prep meals according to the roster ahead, we made somewhat of a routine for the house tasks, getting in more exercise and even managed to fit plans in with family and friends.