Rush Hour

Today begins our first full week of school.  Ugh.  I am dreading the morning rush hour to get everyone ready & out the door in time to make the bus.
Bus
Since the start of a new school year always gets me in the mood for organization, I thought I’d share a few ideas that have helped or will hopefully help us get the most out of every day & hopefully cut down on the morning & evening rush hour! 
Have the kids pick out their outfits ahead of time.  I’m hoping to let the kids pick out their outfits every Sunday.  These labels can be printed for free from BHG!   

Pack lunches in the evening so they just need to get tossed from the fridge to the backpack in the morning.  Although my daughter is at home for lunch, I still make her lunch ahead of time too.  I started this last school year & it helped a ton.  Whenever Elie got hungry she would just grab it out of the fridge & eat it.  It was also great to grab for on the go, if we had a meeting or doctor’s appointment that would put us on the road during lunch time.

Upon waking, the kids know they are supposed to make their beds, get dressed, & come downstairs for breakfast.  Since it would take too long for them to go back upstairs to their bathroom to finished getting ready, I added extra hair products & accessories & toothbrushes & toothpaste in our downstairs half bathroom.  I try to fix Elie’s hair while she’s eating breakfast & after the kids put their dishes away they are to wash up & brush their teeth.

While the kids are at school, I am really going to try to stay on top of house cleaning & projects.  I really like this cleaning method & will hopefully be able to stay on top of it, especially since it seems like an easy way to keep your house clean.  I will most likely tweak it to make it fit our lifestyle, but for the most part I hope to follow it as best I can. 
Once the kids get home from school, the second rush hour creeps up on us.  I have the kids walk home from the bus stop, which helps them get some of their pent up energy out from the school day.  Upon entering the house Zeke & Elie are supposed to empty their backpacks for me to look through & put their shoes away.  All homework & paperwork gets taken care of right then & put back in their backpacks.  It is easier for us to have the rule that the kids can’t play until their daily homework is finished.
I’m hoping we can eat dinner every day around 5:30 in the evening.  To make dinner planning easy, I have a five week calendar of meals that we rotate each month.  To make sure we weren’t eating the same thing every day, I gave a theme to each day of the week (Soupy Sunday, Mexican Monday, Tuscan Tuesday, Wednesday’s Chicken, This & That Thursday, Freezer Friday, & Slow Cooker Saturday).  I’ve actually gotten away from using the calendar solely, but when I didn’t have anything in writing we would end up eating the same things every week.
Before I go shopping, I plan out the meals for the week based on any activities we have.  If the kids have dentist appointments at 4:30, it’s probably a good idea to have something cooking in the Crock Pot so it will be ready when we get home.  (This is where I kind of get away from the rigid meal plan.) 
IMG_3405
I also try to cook large portions of ground beef & chicken & then divide & store it in 16 oz. portions.  I just throw the chicken in the crock pot with some water & about 8 hours later (after it’s cooled) I hand shred it & bag it.  I cook the ground beef over the stove, about three pounds at a time.  It really only takes a few minutes longer & saves a TON of time while preparing dinner.  I use the meat for chili, tacos, casseroles, etc.  It only takes me about 10 minutes to cook tacos when the meat is pre-cooked!
When dinner is over, it helps if everyone puts their dishes in the sink.  This is usually my down fall!  First of all, I hate making dinner, but the clean up is even worse!  Once everyone finishes eating, they abandon me to clean up the aftermath!  I’m hoping that even if I’m tired that I can at least clear & wipe the tables & counters & stack all the dishes in the sink.  That way at least I’m not wasting time clearing off a space so the kids have room to eat breakfast!
Before the kids go to bed, I try to have them clean up their toys & get everything ready for the next morning. 
Hopefully, these tips will help keep our days & nights running smoothly & keep rush hour stress-free!
Do you have any tips for handling rush hour?

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