My epiphanies. I call them that because they have been like revelations … to me. Maybe I am the last one to jump on the housework train of what ‘making-life-easier’ looks like! Even though at least one of these things has been around for a very long time, I am just letting the awesomeness into my life now! I feel if my Gramma were to read this, she would just smile knowingly, not ‘told-you-so’ like, but lovingly. And sorry (not sorry!) if you’ve been in an earshot vicinity around me in the past while, you may already know the things I am about to share, so … here you go again!
How does this happen? A lot of people I know grocery shop on Mondays and I myself was a passenger of that habit up until about a year and half ago. Even employees at the local grocery store have said that Sundays and Mondays are the busiest days at grocery stores. I suppose, it’s because we all think stocking up our fridge at the beginning of the week will be freshest, best, and easiest for meal planning. At least that’s what I thought…
We host a life group on Fridays and I started getting groceries Friday mornings so that I would not have to stress about having things ‘on hand’. It forces me to think about the next week a couple days earlier (Thursday nights instead of Sunday nights), but really, the freshness of my food is about the same. What has also been beneficial is 1. the stores aren’t as busy Fridays and 2. we have food for the weekend and we are less likely to eat out compared to before. When getting groceries on Mondays, we were tired of what we had left over from the week and we would be tempted and give into that temptation to just go out to eat on the weekends. Now, because our groceries are fresh, we’ve curbed that habit more and still have a meal plan for the next week. It’s some food for thought, anyways.
2. Making multiple meals at a time
I also know quite a few people that do this and I commend them. Setting an afternoon aside to make a couple meals actually goes a long way (if I get to this trick of the trade, my time is usually Tuesday afternoons). Instead of the 4 ‘o clock panic to get food ready, on the days that I’ve prepped my meal the day or two before I am able to play with the kids outside or get a dessert ready or … read a book <gasp! a mother having the time to read a book?!>. That wonder of one afternoon of ‘working’ has made MORE time for me to enjoy the day with my kiddos. It doesn’t happen every week, but I’ve been trying to meal plan better so that I can have that luxury. Or as my husband puts it, make more ‘good mothering days’ – Mama’s happy so the kids are happy.
Ok. This is more of an aesthetic thing, but deep down, it makes me and my heart so happy. First off, the cumbersome 4L plastic bottles in my fridge take up so. much. space. Sure, you can rest them on their side, but they don’t fit fridges well. Secondly, I like to see *clean* and *fresh* when I look into the fridge (even though, it may not always be that way it’s what I like – ha!). Glass and stainless steel have definitely helped with that. As a third item, it’s easier to make chocolate milk (as I now store the milk in 1L portions). So important, I know. And lastly, the cream especially seems to stay fresher. It’s a win, win, win, win situation! I use these guys and other pretty glass carafes to store my milk.
In conjunction with my last point (using glass to store milk), I needed a way to track the due dates on the bottles/containers I was using. Before using china markers, I would sometimes use masking tape to label leftovers and other items in the fridge. But since discovering these useful markers, I will not go back. You can write on glass, plastic, metal, film, and most non-porous surfaces, you don’t need a sharpener, AND the markings are water-resistant! They are at any ‘ol stationary store (i.e. Staples) and they come in three different colors – white, red, black. So great for writing notes on our lunch boxes, leaving notes on the fridge, labeling everything, marking coffee beans – decaf/regular – in the coffee grinder, really … so many things!
Life changer right here. This is the one that thing that I know my Gramma would definitely agree with (smart lady). I follow a gal on instagram who posted her minimal methods for mothering/housemaking a while back that really impacted me. Their family of 6 lives in a little house (160 sq.ft – I’m not kidding!) and she obviously had to pare down with the amount of things, in all rooms, they could use. Though, we are not living nearly as tight as they are, I resonate with her opinions about less stuff = less work. Simpler is easier and cleaner – physically and psychologically. Because we host some large groups a few times a month (averaging 20-30 people coming over for dinner each time), I like that I can serve everyone with a real plate and not have to use paper plates everytime. So, what we did is cleared out all the ‘extra dishes’ and put only our daily dishes on one cupboard that we can pull from. Six (Matt’s dad lives with us too!) big plates, six bowls, six little plates, six cups.
By condensing the amount of dishes we are allowing ourselves to use, it forces us to wash our dishes right away so we can use that dish for the next meal. Hand washing has overtaken our kitchen by storm and I can honestly say, we typically only use the dishwasher once a week. Cleaning up dinner takes a fraction of the time if I can get my working dishes done before everyone sits down to eat. I am a natural procrastinator, so you would think, leaving the dishes in the dishwasher to be washed later would bring me more peace, but this method brings more peace of mind to me. Seriously! Try it for one week, and let me know how it changes you <smile>.
This is in no way near the end of my list for any particular reason … I LOVE this stuff! I won an IG giveaway from this Canadian company a while back and little did they know, that I had been counting my pennies to take the plunge into solely using beeswax wrap (I haven’t used saran for over a year now … much to my family’s chagrin!). I loved their product so much, that I went and bought myself a few more packs and don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to plastic wrap. It is so moveable/modlable, it keeps fruit + veggies + cheese incredibly crisp and fresh, does not have lingering odors attached after you wash it (yes, I even have tested it with onion) … I am sold on it and you should be too! Invest the $18 in the variety pack, and I will guarantee you will be ordering some more.
7. Setting the dinner table right after lunch
That, is literally it. Though it may seem small, it is a mighty time saver! Matt, who typically doesn’t notice details right off the bat, came home after three days of this little trial of mine and said how welcoming it felt to come home to a set table (even though he didn’t know dinner wasn’t even ready yet – ha!). Double win for this lady right here!!
So…that’s it for my latest “wow things” in and around the kitchen and I hope you enjoy/comment/try some of them out. And please share if you have had any epiphanies in the kitchen lately – I’d love to hear and try them myself! I’m all about ‘not reinventing the wheel’ so send those tricks on over, ok?!
pic pix: stuff photographed out on the porch, in freezing temperatures might I add!