I have known Kyrstie since kindergarten and one thing I always recall is her healthy eating and her having foods I never had even heard of!
Her love of healthy food is still with her and on A Fresh Legacy Kyrstie describes her vegetable garden as her sanity and cooking as her passion. On her blog she shares (mostly!) fresh healthy recipes created from her home grown produce. They try to grow as much produce as they can in their three vegetable patches and herb patch.
When their garden doesn’t have enough for them to collect they support local farmers and producers. Some of my favourite recipes can be found in her Fresh and Fast Friday posts. These are recipes for a tasty, healthy dinner on the table in under 30 minutes!
In our home there are three very distinct categories, or types of day. These categories determine how the day (and then the evening) flows. The three types of day that define our activities are:
- Non-office days – days when I am at home with the boys.
- Office days – these are the days I leave home VERY early. The boys go to child care for the day.
- Weekends – Mr Fresh spends time with the boys. We regularly entertain friends and often visit a farmers market.
My children are 4 years old and 18 months.
My base routine
My “base routine” has been in place since my 4 year old was 1 year old. My boys know what will happen every night and they happily follow the routine.
It is the lead up, and planning for the evening that determines how smoothly it runs.
My base routine is:
- Finalise dinner preparation – around 4.30pm.
- Get out PJs in preparation for bath time and get out clothes for the next day for the kids
- Feed children – 5pm
- If they are eating happily I prepare Mr Fresh’s lunch for the next day and kinder snacks for my 4 year old
- Bath children, PJs and clean teeth
- Play with the children – their current favourite activities include hide and seek, hallway soccer, or cars (zooming them around the floor)
- Give the baby a bottle while reading him a story and then he goes straight to bed – 7pm
- Read a story to my 4 year old and put him to bed prior to 7.30pm
- Dinner with Mr Fresh around 8 pm (he gets home between 7 or 7.30pm)
- Preparation for the next day –If it is to be a work day for me I get out my work clothes, computer and line it all up ready to pick up as I leave. The boy’s bags are checked for either childcare or kinder requirements and put at the door with shoes to avoid scrambling to find things in a rush in the morning.
If I am not well prepared for the dinner part of the routine things can get very stressful. My 18 month old attaches himself to my legs and then screams until he is seated with his food in front of him. He is very serious about his food! It needs to be ready at 5 pm or very close to it.
Meals are the focus of my daily planning and routine. This is how I plan our meals across the week:
I usually have the opportunity to experiment with a new recipe for a blog post. This is often inspired by produce I’ve collected from a farmers market. I roughly plan meals for the following week.
Dinner preparation occurs during the day.
If it is the day prior to my Office day – I make dinner for that evening as well as the next day.
You can find example of a meal I prepare in advance for a work day dinner here.
A work day meal must be:
- Something that can almost cook itself (eg: is slow cooked while I cook the dinner for the current day’s meal, or is part of a large batch made for the current day and eaten again the next day)
- Quick to re-heat, and something that does re-heat well without drying out
- A complete nutritious meal (packed with vegetables) with no need for a side dish
I return home with two tired, hungry little boys at a time past their usual dinner time. Dinner is grabbed from the fridge, heated and served. This gives me a 5 minute window to get out of my work clothes and grab a glass of wine before sitting down to help monitor dinner. On this evening there are often tears at the table, or someone has to be kept awake. We skip baths on this night it is straight to PJs, a short play time and then it is story and bed (and time for me to relax!)
That is what our evening routine looks like. Nicole has written a useful post on 10 things to do before you go to bed that has some great tips to help the morning run smoothly.
I feel very fortunate to not have to juggle work outside the home for more than a day a week. I am in awe of mums who work full time and manage to keep everyone fed and happy. I am not sure I could do it.
Is it similar to yours? Do your children need to be fed at an exact time to prevent angst and mayhem?