On Monday of next week, it's back to waking up at 6:00 AM every weekday. Back to packing lunches of egg salad sandwiches or leftovers. Back to coming home and barely being able to keep my eyes opened, yet having to cook a meal and clean the house anyway. Gone are the days of waking up late and having no schedule. You can see why it's a little bit bittersweet to go back to work.
Last year, during the winter, I got extremely burnt out. I had had enough of my job, and was too tired to do anything at night. I let housework slide, and probably wasn't too pleasant to be around. I really don't want that to happen again this year. I know I always start things with the best intentions, and then have trouble actually following through. But this year I really want to keep my life as organized and easy as possible so I don't get into an awful funk again this winter.
First of all, my crock pot will be my best friend this year. I don't know why I haven't used it much since we've been married. Maybe because of a lack of planning or a lack of good crock pot recipes. However, this year I'm going to really be on the search for great slow-cooker recipes. I'm planning on making my weekly menu and buying ingredients before the weekend, then preparing as many of the crock pot meals on the weekend as I can, then just throwing them in my crock pot before I leave for work in the morning. Not only will that make my life a whole lot easier, but it will also give me more motivation and time to set the table so that we can eat more meals there instead of in front of the TV. This is one of our bad habits that I really want to break! (And I'm using the 1001 day challenge to help me break it).
My mother-in-law was nice enough to pick up a bread-maker for me at a garage sale a few weeks ago. I was so excited!! I still have to figure out how to use it, but once I do, I'm sure Luke's going to have to pry me away from that thing! My mom used to have a bread maker, and she made all kinds of bread, pizza crust, pretzels, breadsticks, etc. with it. I'll definitely be using it a lot to prepare parts of meals ahead of time. I can't wait to get started!
As far as cleaning goes, I'm just going to have to somehow be a lot more disciplined than last year. I might have to make a rule that I can't go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink or something (because dishes are my absolute least favorite thing to do in the entire world! So I tend to avoid them). Or if there are full laundry baskets. I don't hate laundry as much as I hate washing dishes, but it's hard to keep up with it sometimes even just with the two of us!
I have been bad with my devotions and Bible reading this summer. The lack of a schedule really isn't good there. During the school year, I had been pretty good at doing that before work in the morning, so I'm excited to get back into the schedule of that again.
Finally, I had one fun idea to help me keep my sanity this winter (I really HATE winter, to the point of seasonal depression, I think). Luke and I are going to make a list of fun activities for the winter. Like "watch a movie," "go sled riding," "go out to dinner," "Spend a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge," etc. So whenever we are feeling bored or sick of winter, we can go to the list for something fun to do. I even thought of putting each activity on a strip of paper, and then putting them all in a bowl. When we want to do an activity, we pull a strip from the bowl, and we HAVE to do whatever it says. That sounds like fun to me! So we will see :-)
So lets HOPE I can make it more than 2 or 3 weeks using all of these ideas. I really think they will help me to stay organized and have a better school year than last year!
And before I go, here are some pictures of the newest addition to our family. Okay, so it's not a baby or even a puppy, but I do think we will be spending a lot of time with it! It's technically "my" car, because I will drive it to work, but it's nicer than Luke's truck, so it will be the car we drive on long trips, trips to town, and dates, too ;-) I got to drive it home from Cleveland yesterday...it drives so nicely! I kept having to check the speedometer because it felt like I was going so much slower than I actually was. I better watch out, or I might get my first speeding ticket. All I want to do is drive it now ;-) Luke and I have been talking about taking trip to Cedar Point this Saturday, and I think we definitely will now, because it's a chance to drive the car a couple of hours both ways ;-)