Back-to-Work Time Crunch

On Monday, I went back to work after a really pleasant few weeks of winter break.  And while I’m always a little sad to give up my long days of chicken-tending, quilting and relaxation, I really do love being in the classroom, and this week has been particularly good, as a colleague and I are teaching a two week intensive focused around food and its role in our culture; however, I’ve been coming home exhausted and feel a bit badly about my lack of blogging.

Given that I’ve just returned to work and it’s a topic I’ve though a lot about, I thought I might share some of the ways that I keep caught up with my homesteading and housekeeping while school is in session.

The real key to my sanity is meal planning.  I usually grocery shop on a weeknight, and the evening before, I carefully prepare a list (organized by my path through the grocery) of the meals I plan to make and the ingredients I need.  When making this list, I carefully cross-reference what we have available in our freezer, root cellar, and cupboards with what my recipes call for, being particularly careful to use up the ingredients that I have that are close to their expiration dates. I’m also careful to ensure that we keep staples (flours, sugars, yeast, spices, and baking notions) well stocked, as one of my favorite things to do after a long day of work is bake.  Keeping these things in stock prevents expensive, last minute trips to the grocery store on my way home when I am usually hungry, tired and (admittedly) weak-willed when it comes to readily available chocolate.

I’ve also developed a strict schedule in regard to my time in the morning and evening.  Part of my success in health this year has been a regular hour of aerobics (at 4:45 a.m.), which ensures that not only do I have time to get out the door on time, but that I do so after cleaning the chicken coop, packing our lunches and eating a healthy breakfast.  In the evening, I follow a similar schedule, visiting the chickens immediately after work before starting dinner and doing household chores while things are cooking.  In the spring, when school is still in session, Jason and I often tend to the garden after dinner, as a way of visiting with each other and devoting our time to something that we both enjoy.

What do you do to ensure that everything gets done on busy nights?

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