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  • MBentley
    replied
    For easy breakfasts, I taught the kids the beauty of the toaster. We get those frozen waffles and even my 5 (nearly 6 year old) gets his waffles ready by himself. Strangely, some kids want butter only, and one wants his completely dry - like toast dry, no butter or syrup. Not complaining here - less sugar is awesome and less syrup is a huge mess reduction. While they prep waffles, I do the scrambled eggs. One kid gags on eggs (food texture sensitivities), so he gets ham with his waffles. Older kids toast waffles for 2 year old too. As they are all young, I still don't have them washing dishes yet. We use disposable plates for most of their meals that we purchase in bulk. When we are at a place where I can be reasonably sure they won't chip every glass and break every plate, I'll move to the regular dishes and they will be taking on dish responsibilities.

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  • KF2000
    replied
    This is too funny - cups were our pet peeve for the longest time too. So glad I can share our breakthrough!

    The corollary to that hat is that we save almond butter jars as our cups. We used to buy Ball jars specifically for cups; now we just add them for “free”!

    AMDG,
    Sarah

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  • empokorski
    replied
    Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
    We have a couple things that work in our favor. First, I have a dh who is up and out the door by a few minutes after 5 every morning. So that *usually* helps me get up before the kids with enough time to have "brain space" of my own and get my mind wrapped around our day. (and do things like check the forum!).

    I have found our best wake up time to be 7am. It's the balance between early and late risers. My ones who are up before then, they get to take their time a bit more with morning routine. But I am also taking advantage of that by having one child with whom I work at 7:30 - a half hour of a couple things to start her day that I don't then have to do later.

    Everyone except M. is able to follow morning routine of wake, dress, make bed, eat, brush teeth, and be presentable for school. The goal is to have everyone available for prayers between 7:30 and 7:45. By 8 am, the overall school schedule starts. This WAS the plan for the year, but we are adding an outside class for my sophomore, which means we will have some adjustments to make there.

    But as far as meals go, the kids have options, all of which they can prepare themselves. We have bags of frozen breakfast sausage from Costco in the freezer, yogurt, nut bars, hard-boiled eggs, and oatmeal. They all know how to make smoothies with frozen fruit, nut butters, milk, and protein powder. The older ones can make eggs if they want but they are expected to clean the pan at some point in the day. And for the most part, they don't leave too much of a mess - especially if it's just milk and a nut bar!

    Also, we have black rubber coasters from Wal-mart that we keep on the counter. We wrote names in white Sharpie paint pen on each one. They keep one glass on their coaster and use it all day. It helps a ton with dishes!

    HTH's!
    AMDG,
    Sarah
    I LOVE the coaster idea!!!! I have been looking for a way to stop having a million dirty cups during the day! Awesome. I’m also glad for this string of posts because I need some easy breakfast ideas! We have a baby coming in a few weeks and I need them to be more Independent with their breakfast starting NOW! ????

    DS (14)
    DS (11)
    DD (9)
    DS (6)

    Leave a comment:


  • emerino
    replied
    Originally posted by Katie View Post
    Brilliant!
    I try to assign a cup to each kid everyday but somehow they always get mixed up or can’t remember who’s is whose.
    Love this idea.
    Cups all over the place is my pet peeve! I couldn't get them to put their cups where I wanted them to, so I bought a wooden cutting board to use as an anchor for the cups. They have to keep their cup there all day. It works like a charm and it looks decent and is out of the way. Also, each kid has a different colored silicone band that they put on the cup they are using.

    Leave a comment:


  • emerino
    replied
    I started setting routines and chores in place this summer to prepare for starting school (which was this week!). I'm so glad I did that because it was rough when we started the routines (lots of complaints...I learned the hard way the value of starting routines and chores at a young age). The kids have a morning routine (make bed, get dressed in appropriate clothes, brush hair and teeth, pick up room/bathroom/closet) and we try to do an afternoon and evening routine that include picking up an assigned room as well as their own room, putting away their laundry, and emptying their stairs basket. We have a kitchen rotation that changes each week (so do the assigned rooms). That includes a table setter, table clearer, and kitchen helper.

    Our morning is currently the following (my goal is to wake up earlier so that I can have a slower and more productive morning and spend time with my 3yo early riser, but right now my 4mo twins keep me from getting enough sleep for that):

    somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 - I get up, make the bed, get dressed like I was going somewhere, start laundry, get the babies dressed and into the kitchen, and start making breakfast. What we have for breakfast depends on how much time I have. We love hot breakfasts, so I do sausage and grits, bacon and hashbrowns, or homemade pancakes a lot. If I don't have time, it's fend for yourself (yogurt, cereal, fruit, toast). But my kids are at their best when they are fed well in the morning, so I try to have something that they like and that will satisfy them.

    7:00 - The kids have to be downstairs for breakfast with their morning routines already done. I feed the twins and try to sit and eat with the kids. We have developed the habit of sitting at the table together and eating together, so that helps move things along quicker. They're not supposed to eat until everyone is ready and someone blesses the food. We put the food on the table, which I think also makes meals move quicker.

    7:30 - Breakfast clean-up and kids do any chores they can at that point. I do as much as I can before starting school (laundry, chores, make coffee - very important!).

    8:00 - We start school. The big kids start working on independent work; I'll put assignments on the board for the 2nd grader to do on her own; and I just work with whoever needs me. So, everyone is doing something, whether it's with me or independent work (except the Ker, who depends on me of course).

    Leave a comment:


  • Katie
    replied
    Originally posted by KF2000 View Post

    Also, we have black rubber coasters from Wal-mart that we keep on the counter. We wrote names in white Sharpie paint pen on each one. They keep one glass on their coaster and use it all day. It helps a ton with dishes!
    Brilliant!
    I try to assign a cup to each kid everyday but somehow they always get mixed up or can’t remember who’s is whose.
    Love this idea.

    Leave a comment:


  • DiannaKennedy
    replied
    Originally posted by TheAttachedMama View Post
    Can anyone share their system at home for managing mornings before school starts? (Basic hygiene and chores, that type of thing.). I am trying to put some new system in place, and could use some ideas on what works for other families.

    pops popcorn ???? and settles ini to learn from you wise mommas.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs Bee
    replied
    Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
    This is very timely for me as our mornings need a LOT of help! The issue here is that I have kids who get up at 6:00, and kids who would sleep until 8:30/9 if I let them. And these oldest two boys (6th/7th) have always been like this. That leads me to believe that the younger one just needs more sleep in general. This is our first year home in 2 years, and I don't know when a good start time for school would be. Do I wake him up and have a hard start? Do I let the early riser get started on his independent work? The other issue is breakfast. We've gotten away from "healthy" breakfasts and basically the kids just grab cereal or something else rather unhealthy (but convenient) and then leave the mess all over the kitchen. So then when I come out, I'm grouchy because the kitchen looks like a disaster. I think a few things need to happen, and feel free to advise me on the rest!

    1. I need to wake up earlier (before most of them)-which means getting to bed earlier-which is difficult for me.
    2. I need to figure out breakfast (see below).
    3. I need to have an official start to our day (see below).

    I'm very curious as to what you all do for breakfast. Are kids on their own? Do you get up and make something every day? Is it everybody sit down at the same time, or you all eat together?

    And, what about an official start to the day? When you have a 2 year old and a 7th grader, I'm not sure how to make that work. Short and easy is what I need, but what?

    An idea: just like some families work on a list of dinner food they like, and that helps plan dinners, you could do the same with breakfast. It will help you having a list of items approved by you and daddy, whatever they may be, and whatever degree of cooking you are comfortable with. Some simple ideas: yogurt with fruit and/or multigrain Cheerios mixed in, breakfast breads or protein bars and a glass of milk, quick-cooking oatmeal with chopped apples or other fruit, breakfast burritos, nut or bran muffins. Cereal is fine too, depending on what it is: Raisin Bran Crunch with Almonds is not the same as Cookie Crisp. The thing with cereal is that kids might need a snack sooner rather than later. When it's hot my kids crave cold fruit even for breakfast, but otherwise in general I like to make sure there are always good fats and protein. Personally, I *really* dislike the smell of cooking first thing in the morning, so we never cook classic breakfast food. We do eat all together, except for the 5 year old, who's still granted his own sleep schedule.

    To deal with kitchen mess, I'd make sure the kids have clear in their minds some expectations: have you talked to them about what bothers you specifically, and what you'd like them to do? Maybe it would help to set a few, easily understood rules, and post them somewhere in the kitchen where they can be seen.

    The way we organize the day is focused on the main happenings, what I call our "fixed engagements", like outside classes, sport or music practice, etc., and on the subjects that we work on every day, 4 times a week, 2, times, one time. Depending on what's happening, I label days as "heavy" or "light" school days: a light day is a day with a lot of commitments, so I know I can't add a lot of school work. I make sure I include driving time into the schedule, and I basically walk backwards from there, filling hours with the subjects we want to do. The time you want to be really done with school (my brain is fried by 4:30pm...) will then determine the time you need your school day to start. At least, this works for me because my older kids do identical things, and the youngest is still flexible, so our days are very predictable.

    Leave a comment:


  • KF2000
    replied
    We have a couple things that work in our favor. First, I have a dh who is up and out the door by a few minutes after 5 every morning. So that *usually* helps me get up before the kids with enough time to have "brain space" of my own and get my mind wrapped around our day. (and do things like check the forum!).

    I have found our best wake up time to be 7am. It's the balance between early and late risers. My ones who are up before then, they get to take their time a bit more with morning routine. But I am also taking advantage of that by having one child with whom I work at 7:30 - a half hour of a couple things to start her day that I don't then have to do later.

    Everyone except M. is able to follow morning routine of wake, dress, make bed, eat, brush teeth, and be presentable for school. The goal is to have everyone available for prayers between 7:30 and 7:45. By 8 am, the overall school schedule starts. This WAS the plan for the year, but we are adding an outside class for my sophomore, which means we will have some adjustments to make there.

    But as far as meals go, the kids have options, all of which they can prepare themselves. We have bags of frozen breakfast sausage from Costco in the freezer, yogurt, nut bars, hard-boiled eggs, and oatmeal. They all know how to make smoothies with frozen fruit, nut butters, milk, and protein powder. The older ones can make eggs if they want but they are expected to clean the pan at some point in the day. And for the most part, they don't leave too much of a mess - especially if it's just milk and a nut bar!

    Also, we have black rubber coasters from Wal-mart that we keep on the counter. We wrote names in white Sharpie paint pen on each one. They keep one glass on their coaster and use it all day. It helps a ton with dishes!

    HTH's!
    AMDG,
    Sarah

    Leave a comment:


  • Meadowlark
    replied
    This is very timely for me as our mornings need a LOT of help! The issue here is that I have kids who get up at 6:00, and kids who would sleep until 8:30/9 if I let them. And these oldest two boys (6th/7th) have always been like this. That leads me to believe that the younger one just needs more sleep in general. This is our first year home in 2 years, and I don't know when a good start time for school would be. Do I wake him up and have a hard start? Do I let the early riser get started on his independent work? The other issue is breakfast. We've gotten away from "healthy" breakfasts and basically the kids just grab cereal or something else rather unhealthy (but convenient) and then leave the mess all over the kitchen. So then when I come out, I'm grouchy because the kitchen looks like a disaster. I think a few things need to happen, and feel free to advise me on the rest!

    1. I need to wake up earlier (before most of them)-which means getting to bed earlier-which is difficult for me.
    2. I need to figure out breakfast (see below).
    3. I need to have an official start to our day (see below).

    I'm very curious as to what you all do for breakfast. Are kids on their own? Do you get up and make something every day? Is it everybody sit down at the same time, or you all eat together?

    And, what about an official start to the day? When you have a 2 year old and a 7th grader, I'm not sure how to make that work. Short and easy is what I need, but what?

    Leave a comment:


  • VAmom
    replied
    Our morning schedule is unique to us because we have animal chores with our hobby farm and my kids are early risers. Two summer ago I was frustrated with our morning routine so I mapped out what I wanted to happen and drilled it for two months. At first it was rocky but now it’s fairly smooth sailing. They get a lot done before school starts because the expectations are high and the routine is there. Whatever works for you I encourage you to stick with it! It’s worth it in the end.

    Leave a comment:


  • KF2000
    replied
    Everybody has included some description of our routine somewhere in the mix here already -
    -charts on the little kids' closet doors for morning and evening routines
    -set time for me to rise before rest (that's the goal...can be hit or miss sometimes - do still have a wiggly toddler who wakes me frequently at night from his wiggles and whimpers)
    -set time to wake them
    -regular pattern of EASY breakfasts - healthy bars and smoothies are the norm
    -prayers as soon as all heads are in the same room and then off we go on our personal schedules.

    And now I am running off to start the first pre-season Bears football game with my fam. Whoop whoop!

    AMDG,
    Sarah

    Leave a comment:


  • Mom2mthj
    replied
    Originally posted by MBentley View Post
    I start waking (shouting up the stairs) the kids around 6:45. They have to brush their teeth and get showers. After showers, they have to start making breakfast. They have to show up to breakfast dressed and ready to go.

    It's the goal to start school at 8:30. Sometimes we make it. Usually it's a bit later. My kids are young though and slow eaters.

    I should mention this is a new thing - only last few weeks. It's working reasonably well though.
    I can’t imagine my water bill between the shower and washing the towels if everyone showered every morning. Generally I am terrible at the morning routine. We often don’t start at the same time. This year I am planning to be more disciplined, but I sometimes have trouble getting moving in the morning.
    5:15 Husband takes daughter to morning swim practice
    7:00 Pick up daughter from swim - instead of going back to bed I am going to try to do latin with my 11yo. He usually gets up and makes my coffee and pours my cereal.
    8:00 Try to rouse the 14yo son and serve everyone breakfast, have them get them dressed, and tidy kitchen
    9:30 Start school

    Leave a comment:


  • MBentley
    replied
    Amen on the weird long breakfasts....it's why I decided to start making them watch the Prima Latina during breakfast - just to use the time somehow. And, if they sit there too long, they have to watch the same one again - which doesn't make them hurry at all. It just means that they heard it twice that morning... Which is starting to happen most mornings.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nerdmom
    replied
    7-7:30 - morning offering, get dressed, teeth/hair/deodorant, make bed/pjs away, eat/tidy breakfast
    7:30-8 - family rosary, saint of the day, catechism

    I printed out a todo list for morning and bedtime routines, and posted it on the back the kids' door. I kept it to 5 steps, but listed specifics, eg - "Get dressed" includes "polo, khakis, belt, socks, shoes." Breakfast is last. If you dawdle, you don't eat (or quickly cram down a cheese stick). It only takes a few hungry mornings for them to start moving faster.

    Leave a comment:

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