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September 2008: Back to School and Back to Routines

The carefree days of summer are but a memory and now it’s back to reality! September is a busy month. It’s back to school for my children and back to making meals for me. I take a break from cooking during the summer months and we do a lot of barbequing. I find September is a good month for getting back on track and back to routines.

My daughter went off to university and that has been quite an adjustment for me (and I guess for her too.) She is very busy. She must learn to manage her time now that she will have to do her own laundry and she’ll have to manage her own money. I know she will do fine because she is very organized and is a list-maker (like her mom).

I feel like I have more time on my hands with only one child at home. I was so bored the day after we brought my daughter to university that I cleaned out the pantry tossing the stale remnants of summer and emptied the fridge washing down every nook and cranny. When I finished, my son was still sleeping!

My son is in high school and I am trying to get him into a routine. I think if he eats and sleeps well and exercises and does his homework he will feel less overwhelmed when exam time comes. I can only hope. Morning time is fun with a teenager. I get him to set his alarm to wake himself up. I am the back up plan in case the alarm fails to rouse him. I let him know that he must allow only a certain amount of time for each activity. So if he dawdles while he eats then there is less time for getting ready. I hope I am instilling in him good time management habits. Time will tell. (No pun intended).

I have started using my slow cooker (crock pot) to make meals that are ready when I walk through the door. Tonight was a perfect example because we all arrived home at 6PM and my son had to leave for guitar lessons at 6:45PM so there would have been no time to cook. What a great invention! It still involves planning because I need to shop for ingredients and plan the menu the night before but it is still very convenient. I have been experimenting with recipes and adding my own twist. Some were enjoyed more than others! (I could tell by my family’s enthusiasm or lack thereof). I will continue to experiment so my family does not get bored with the same old menu.

Another one of our routines is Sunday night is banana chocolate chip muffin night. My son starts salivating like Pavlov’s dog around 7:00 Sunday evening. I don’t remember how this came about but I started making muffins Sunday evening after dinner. It does take planning because I have to make sure I have three ripe bananas come Sunday. I have to keep an eye on my husband to make sure he doesn’t try and eat one before I can make the muffins. You see routine does not have to be boring or regimented. I love making muffins and my son loves eating them. (I do too!)

I hope you too will find time to get back on track and get into a groove that works for the whole family. I really believe that children thrive on routine.