5 Things To Do NOW For More Free Time

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Do you ever wonder if our parents and grandparents felt like we do about time?  There never seems to be enough of it and we all spend time trying to find out ways to use it more efficiently. Free Time?  Who has any of that?!

Gretchen Rubin says “The days are long, but the years are short.”  Isn’t that the truth…

Free Time

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My Kids Are Getting More of My Time, And Yours Should Too

Ugh, the weekly grind gets so long, and you just want to come home from work and have some “me” time!!

But, the kids are still awake, and not to mention, supper needs to be on the table in 10 minutes…

Your friend is texting you about something not important, and as much as you love her, really?  Right now?

Oh, and work today-ugh… I might not go back tomorrow-well if I didn’t need the paycheck I wouldn’t!

Yes, most days may not(or maybe they are) like this, but you get the drift.  Things seem like such a rush at night during the week, it is a wonder we have enough time to really get everything done.  I have thought about sleep training myself so I do not need more than four hours of sleep.  I haven’t figured that one out yet…

But, I cannot add more time to the day-I only have 24 hours-and as of right now I still need 8 hours of sleep to function.  I have started making changes in my life to start making more out of the time I do have.  I have found one that has really allowed me to spend more time with my kids, and it is so easy, you can incorporate it into your day.

Ready?… Put down your phone.

When I used to get home from work, I would be busy going through my personal emails-catching up on days worth of things that could wait.  Oh, and the social media- I had narrowed myself down to using only one social media platform, but then I would sit and scroll, scroll and scroll! Oh, and maybe I should call my sister and text back so and so.  Then-poopy- I need to get supper made and I didn’t even enjoy any time with my kids.  Then, eat supper and the rest of the night is spent getting the day wrapped up with them.

Putting down the phone is so much easier said than done, but it is important! I have weaned myself off of social media slowly. It is painful at first, but then I get to a place where I do not miss it, and actually feel happier without it. I have also set aside times of the day when I am going to use my cell phone-and these are times when I cannot be playing with my kids.

So, what has this lead to?  I get to push my kids on the swing for an extra five minutes- and they get all of my attention, not half of it.  Or, they can tell me a story and I am actually going to listen, not just do the “one ear and out the other.”

Does weaning yourself off your phone “scare” you or are you already doing it? What was or is the hardest part for you?


How Having Kids Changed My Thinking

I was the kid that wasn’t supposed to have kids-because I wanted it that way…

Then, life gets thrown at you.  The person I was dating already had a child and I became an instant mom.  Walking the fine line of being a part-time Step-Mom went to full-time Step-Mom.  (This a has been a challenge and a blessing, for many more reasons than what you are thinking).  Then, a positive pregnancy test comes along when I wasn’t expecting it, even though I was well aware of what can happen.  I still remember my moms confused reaction when I told her I was pregnant…

Before having kids, I was completely career driven(and even for a little while after).  Why would someone sacrifice themselves for kids?  Even if they did, use daycare, grandparents, and babysitters so they do not become a huge distraction.  I used to wonder why more people didn’t do this, but I think it is a hard one to answer for some until they have children and are able to reflect on it-if they ever do.

I know people who have not let children slow down their careers or social lives.  But, after having a few hills to climb, I have found that is not the path for me.  It is not always the most “fun” way to spend my time, but I am a big girl that also has to be a mom.

Having kids has changed my thoughts on life.  My focus has changed-and for the better.  I no longer want to jump in a rat race to have the largest house, the best cars, and the prettiest clothes- in other words, I no longer feel the need to keep up with society.  Why would I?  Is the sacrifice of not knowing my children worth it?  No.  This doesn’t mean that you cannot have these things, or that you should completely sacrifice yourself for your child.  I DO NOT believe in that either.

Here is what I challenge you to:

  • Yes, we all need some time away from the kids, BUT, maybe only allow one time a week or month to go out without your kids. It is important to have some time with your significant other.
  • If funds do not allow you to go out, do things that you could do is find a way to include the kids-maybe do a family game night. After the kids go to bed, continue to play the game with your significant other.
  • Spend time with another couple that has kids around the age of your own.  Or, trade off babysitting the kids so they can go out one night and them you another.

Let’s face it-did you want to hang out with your parents when you were a teenager?  I bet most of you would say a…um, well, NO(ugh, so embarrassing)!  Enjoy the time with your kids when they still WANT to hang out with you!  Use that time to bond and build a good foundation for the (sometimes difficult) years ahead.  Do not completely sacrifice yourself for your children.  That is not healthy for anyone, plus what will you have when your children leave? You may be viewed as a clingy parent and a child-in-laws worst nightmare.

Maybe you do not agree with my thoughts, and I am no expert!  I am just a parent trying to figure it out…

If you had to challenge yourself as a parent to do something different with your children, what would that be?


My Meal Plan for Two Weeks-How To!

My Meal Plan for Two Weeks-How To!

This week, I decided I am jumping in, it is time do the meal planning! I see it in so many places and have actually been excited to try it.

The whole process of planning took me about an hour, although, I had done some things in advance to make it easier later.


Steps of How To Meal Plan

1.) Start by collecting recipes ahead of time!

  • Gather recipes you know your family already loves and keep it in a binder.  Not only are they in one easy to locate spot, but they are easy to page through.
  • Make mental notes or write down meals that your family already loves!  This way when you sit down, it is all right there and you are not having a “mental block.”

2.) Print out My Meal Planning Worksheet! 

    • My worksheet has enough room to plan two weeks worth of meals (1x/day)

3.) Pull our your recipe binder and PLAN!

  • Write in any days you know you have things going on.  For example, we currently have soccer on Thursday nights so I made a note on that day as a reminder.   Busy Nights = Quick and Easy Meals
  • Choose a leftover night…or two
  • Put your “labor intense” or larger meals a night or two BEFORE leftover night.  This way leftovers do not go to waste from not getting ate soon enough!  And do yourself a favor-EAT LEFTOVERS!
  • Try to put a slow cooker meal once a week.  I choose a night I already know I am not going to want to make supper…because hey, I know me!  It is sometimes helpful to put a reminder on the sheet such as “SC” to keep you ahead of the game.
  • I like to keep my “veggie and fruit” section open so I can see what is on sale at the store
  • Keep an -open- or -free- night on the worksheet.  I am using this space to either go out to eat, get a pizza or do an easy kid-pleasing meal (even though I like chicken nuggets as much as the kids…).  This spot could also be used for a week when you have a t
    I forgot to print the page in color!

    on of leftovers!

4.) Write down recipe ingredients on the back of the paper

  • Write down only potentially needed ingredients!  If you know you do not need salt and pepper, do not write it down, it just makes everything more overwhelming!
  • Put a tally in front of the ingredients so you can easily see if you need 2 cans of green beans.-again, keep it easy.

5) Check your kitchen pantry, freezer, and fridge to see what you already have on hand. Cross things off your list you do not need or adjust your count.

6.) Make your final grocery list.

  • Include all things off of your meal planning list
  • Add any additional things to your list.  Ex. Toilet Paper, soap, etc.

7.) Go Shopping!

Additional Tips

  • If you are really wanting to save money, plan your meals around your stores weekly sales.  Pair sales with coupons for even better deals!
  • Before I started meal planning, I cleaned out my pantry, freezer and fridge out quite a bit.  I did this without a meal plan and just got creative(it was a little more stressful though).
  • Do not allow yourself to go to the grocery store if you can help it.  If you do, ONLY allow yourself to buy necessities such as milk.
  • If you run out of an ingredient, improvise!! No Exceptions! Make a different meal, google how to substitute an ingredient.
  • Have your family pick out a favorite meal or two to make it easier on you when it comes to planning.
  • Keep a kitchen inventory to make planning go faster.

Happy Planning


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