PHANEROO \fan-er-o-oo\Greek: to manifest in word or deed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Mother of Invention... necessity. In the past few weeks I've invented a couple of new routines around here. It has come out of necessity.

Do we want to eat dinner? Yes. Can it get made after 4:30 p.m.? No. For some reason the hours between naptime ending and bedtime beginning - around 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. - can be complete disasters. It has taken me a full year to figure this out. The disaster hours are fairly consistent. I dread those hours. Kids are hyper, hungry, temperamental, getting tired, bored, etc. And then the thought of trying to make dinner, sit down together as a family, and actually enjoy it is frustrating...for a lack of a better word. So my new plan has been instigated: start making dinner soon after breakfast. I know that sounds weird to begin making dinner at 9 a.m. but it is working for us. My mom gave me this really cool cookbook about 3 years ago and I'm just now using it. Stupid me for waiting so long! Mothers really do know best - so listen to your mom! The cookbook is the Busy Woman's Slow Cooker Cookbook. Most of the recipes call for only 5-6 ingredients that you throw into the slow cooker, set to low or medium heat, cook for 8-10 hours, and then enjoy by dinnertime. So far I've experimented with vegetable beef soup, sweet and sour pork, and a few others that I cannot recall at this exact moment. What's really cool about this cookbook are the number of options. There are at least 5 recipes just for meatloaf. So if you like southwestern flavors, there's a meatloaf recipe for that; and, if you like traditional, there are 2-3 versions for that. There are several versions of chicken and rice soup, chicken noodle soup, vegetable soup, etc. I like the versatility because most of the time I can come up with something from my pantry that will closely resemble a recipe (or combination of recipes) in this cookbook.

Another struggle in our home...Do we like cleanliness and tidiness? Yes. Can we achieve it? Not without everyone pulling their own weight. So to help resolve the problem with clutter, I have purchased each child a green bag (you know, those sturdy reusable grocery bags). I purchased these green bags at Toys R Us for $1.29 because each one has a fun design on the outside: a monster truck for Schaeffer, a dinosaur for Lily, and a lion for Griffin. At the end of each day before beginning bedtime each child takes a bag and collects up toys, clothes, dirty socks, etc. and takes the bag to his/her room to be emptied into their proper places. We've just started this new routine so I'm curious to see how well it works in the long run. Tonight everyone was very excited about going on a "hunt" for their toys and clothes and stuffing their bags full. It was a complete miracle to see our living room, hallway, and kitchen clutter free with minimal effort on my part. It was a beautiful thing. I sure hope this routine sticks.

I came across this really awesome blog, Smockity Frocks. It is geared toward sharing practical ideas for large families. I've already found some great ideas there that I want to try in our home.

Also, I would love to hear from you, my dearest readers, about anything that you've invented out of necessity. It can be related to your routine at home, or something you've made to save money or because you couldn't find in stores, or something you recycled or used in a different way to better meet your needs. Please share your inventions in the comments section.


Cassie said...

I haven't done this yet because I am saving containers so I have somewhere to put it, but I am about to nake my own laundry detergent- get this: $2 for 10 gallons. Oh yeah. Let me know if you want the recipe. :)

Amanda said...

My weekly meals go together so much faster and easier when I cook my meat ahead of time. If I bake all my chicken and brown my turkey/beef in one day it cuts down my daily time of food prep. Of course, it won't work for every meal, every week.Another benefit is it also motivates me to make dinner(since I know it will be done quicker).Sometimes I need a little kick in the pants! The meat I cook ahead is put into things like italian, mexican, and cassarole meals. I'm planning to have some of this stuff in the freezer when #4 arrives.

Anonymous said...

Wow! When's supper? I can tell you an interesting but probably useless invention for you and a useful one. I had a student facebook his friends that I could fix anything with a paperclip. They are wonderful tools when cut, bent at right angles or in a hook, sharpened, straightened, greased, pounded flat, stood up as a spring, tied together with another straightened one, balanced over another object,........ The other is a trick that works when in a hurry or have limited pottage. I take a small sauce pan, butter it, put three strips of bacon on, pack my lunch, flip the bacon and crack two eggs over the bacon and scatter the yokes, start a fire in the woodstove, turn the stovetop off and flip the bacon-egg fritter, butter my waffle, slid it onto the plate and eat.