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Finding Your Family’s Groove

With school and activities in full swing, how does your family handle the squeeze on your time and extra pressure to be so many places during the week? We've got some great ideas to keep you on track and your family fed with tried and true tips and a delicious recipe!Does feeding your family energize you or stress you out?

I’d have to say they do a little of both for me. While I love to cook, if I haven’t taken time to plan ahead, it can cause me to freak out slightly.

Okay. Freak out a lot.

If I fail to plan, I’m planning to fail. (That old adage is SO very true!) So here are some tips I’ve gathered along the way. And a great busy day recipe for soup using leftover roast beef. (Hint: if you plan now to make a roast for next Sunday’s supper, you can make this on Monday. For you gals who are away from home during the day, it works well in a crock pot too!)

Routine Tips:

~ On Sunday evenings, sit down with your planner, calendar or electronic calendar. Oh, and most importantly, your spouse! Take note of any appointments now and add new ones to your week. Consult your spouse to see what they have on your calendar that you do not–and vice versa. This will alleviate the panic you feel when you finally look at your calendar for the week at 10 a.m. Monday morning and see that you had a dentist appointment scheduled for 9:30 that day. YIKES!

~ If you are a lunch-packing parent, don’t put a few handfuls of chips or carrots or other side dish in a baggie for your child every morning. Make 5 bags on Monday morning and, the rest of the week, just grab one to toss into their lunch pail.

~ Think creatively about cooking on the weekends. If you are having grilled chicken breasts, make double. Dice the extra for fast salads during the week. If you are making a roast or ham for Sunday, make a large one or make two smaller ones. Utilize the leftovers in a soup or casserole on Monday such as bean with ham soup, ham and scalloped potatoes or beef and noodles.

~ Think through sports, music and other extra  curriculars on the weekend BEFORE your child is frantic because he or she now needs a costume, uniform or piece of clothing. Also, don’t just wash it for them. train your kids to do their own laundry. Remember the old “teach a man to fish” business….

~ Also think through times when you will be waiting and take along a tote bag of something to do. I like to keep a book, a small Bible, a note pad and some note cards in a tote bag. Then, when I am in a carpool line, waiting room, or other holding pattern, I can be productive or spend time reading or jotting a note to someone. This comes in handy when you find yourself in the waiting room longer than you thought you’d be. You can read a chapter, made a list or make a phone call or two two so you don’t fuss and fume that you wasted time.

~Okay…now here is the yummy beef soup recipe. You can use barley or pasta in it. Great with biscuits or corn bread. The perfect dish to make to use up some extra roast. Enjoy!

Beef Vegetable Soup

In a large kettle combine:

10 cups beef stock water (or 10 cups water with bouillon cubes to taste)

2 cups peeled, chopped potatoes

1 1/4 cups sliced carrots

1 onion, chopped fine (3/4 cup)

2 cups chopped cabbage

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn

2 cups leftover chopped beef

1- 14.5-ounce can petite chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon dried, minced garlic (or one clove fresh, minced)

2 teaspoons basil

2 teaspoons oregano

2 bay leaves (optional)

Combine all and cook over medium heat for 30–45 minutes. Then add:

1/4 cup orzo, alphabet-shaped, or other small pasta or 1/4 cup pearl barley

Cook 30–45 minutes longer, until pasta (or barley) is tender. Remove bay leaves. Serves 8–10.

Routine Blessings,

Karen Ehman, KarenEhman.com

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  1. I have found that using the COZI app helps with scheduling because everyone in your “family” can see who has what scheduled when. I too pack as much of my weeks lunches on Sunday then all I have to do during the week is cut up my apple which I do the night before. I also set out my clothes the night before. All of this makes mornings go so much smoother. Can’t wait to try the recipe!

    1. We use the COZI app to and love it! We use if for our grocery list and our “to-do” lists!!

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