I have a busy life. There are two essential ingredients to managing a busy life.
Foremost is putting God first. A friend once told me that He is the perfect secretary. Ask Him what is most important, what you should be working on right now, and He will guide you. And she is right. Staying close to the Lord is crucial to living a happy and successful life. Not only will He help you manage it all, but He will help you focus on the important things and let go of the unimportant and counterproductive things.
Second is organization. Time management, schedules, lists, and along with that, assignments. The Lord helps here too. I have received inspiration as I have tried to figure out how I am going to make my life work.
Here are some of the things I have come up with to help me through tax season, AND BEYOND!
Seminary - share the load
We were able to combine classes. The teacher of the other class (who used to be my co-teacher) is taking five classes this semester, so it was mutually beneficial to combine and share the load. Since we taught together before, we know how to work together. We meet during the Sunday school hour at church to plan the week. She teaches two days, I teach two days, and the fifth day we play games. We still attend every day, but we do not have to plan more than two lessons a week.
Groceries and meals - make it simple and use what you have
If I were really smart we would eat rice and beans every weeknight. I would buy a rice cooker and set it up next to my slow cooker and that would be it. My kids would rebel, however, so I cannot make it that simple. I have come up with this plan:
Friday - on the run. I never know who will be here on Friday night, since the boys can be camping, any of the kids can be at a friend's, sometimes, although rarely, my husband and I will go out, and sometimes we just need to fill our pizza craving. So, Fridays I will make what I want for my husband and I, which guaranteed will be some kind of soup. If the kids are home they can have some or scrounge for themselves. My freezer/pantry is full of kid friendly food: pizza rolls, frozen pizzas, mac and cheese, popcorn chicken, raman noodle soup, etc.
Saturday - My big cooking day. Last week I made meatballs and sauce (which took 4 hours). We got another meal out of the sauce and still have some meatballs in the freezer. Tomorrow is shot due to a blizzard we are having, but future plans are post roast, roasted chicken, ham, etc.
Sunday - A fairly simple dinner, but will be making soup or salad for the week as well.
Monday - Pasta. Monday is always pasta night in our house, and my kids can cook it.
Tuesday - Something from the freezer and/or pantry, along with a fresh or frozen vegetable. I have lots of leftovers packed in Foodsaver bags (that is the point of Saturday's endeavor).
Wednesday - sandwiches or fast food (probably fast food until we are sick of it, then sandwiches)
Thursday - crock pot soup/stew/one pot meal
Using what I have also includes recipes. When planning my menu, I will be looking at my recipe file box, and what I have already posted here. The rest of the year offers plenty of time for experimenting and trying new things. Now I need to stick to the tried and true. Stuff I know I can get on the table in the time that I have and that I know people will eat.
Cleaning - share the load
Saturday is clean the house day. I clean the bathrooms and kitchen. My kids are responsible for the rest. Sometimes some of the kids won't be around, camping with the scouts comes to mind, so that week the ones that are home have to do more, and the others will make up for it the week after.
I also came up with a dishwashing schedule, based on who will be home that night.
Wednesday: whoever eats home cleans up after himself
Everyday there are two to help and everyone has two days. I love it when it works out like that!
This still falls on me mostly. My daughter can now drive herself, so that saves me two trips on Thursday, but also helps me to stay at work longer since some of her activities are after school.
Next year she will be able to drive everyone else, and my evenings will get much easier (other than the worrying), and she will know what it is like to be me.
The year after that there will be less kids to drive around. In any event, it gets easier from here on.
This is what is working so far!