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Back in the Saddle, again....

Well folks, it's finally here: the dawn of the new school year is upon us. In just a matter of hours, we jump back on that hamster wheel of schedules, routines, and all the demands of school, work, and weekends hockey.

Seeing as though I just returned to the classroom last year, I am still somewhat new to this working mom gig and am far from having figured out all of the best daily time-savers that might help me feel like I actually do "have it all." However, there are a few lessons I have learned in my short re-entry to the working world that do allow me to, at the very least, keep my head above water. 

One of the biggest, most important corner-cuts for me is weekly meal planning; planning out every meal and each subsequent ingredient for every day of the working week and beyond. Taking the guessing game out of weeknight dinners is sometimes all that stands between myself and complete insanity. Last year, the weeks where I slacked on my planning left me feeling frustrated and my kids eating oatmeal for dinner. While we absolutely love "breakfast for dinner" in this household, instant oatmeal is really selling that concept short. 

This year I am vowing to put my best foot forward by giving a concerted effort to plan ahead and, most importantly, stay ahead. I am committed to sticking to a pre-determined, weekly menu full of tasty and healthful meals, most of which I hope will be ready and waiting for us by the time we walk in the door after a long (and soon enough, cold) day -- hello, crock-pot/slow-cooker/pressure-cooker! (By the way, is 'crock-pot' vs. 'slow-cooker' an argument a la what we call a cobbler? Is there actually a difference? The people need to know!)

However, despite my best efforts, I realize that having someone hold me accountable for this new plan is going to be a very big part of whether or not I succeed. Thankfully, that's where all of you come in! Now that I've confessed my meal-planning intentions to the internets, there is no turning back. I am not only going to be recording my meals on my chalkboard menu in my own kitchen, I'm going to be sharing it with all of you (recipe links, and all) at the beginning of each week. Then as the week goes by, if we've tried anything new, I will be sharing our reviews (either yay or nay) which will tie directly into my recipe sharing I planned to do with you anyway! Don't you just love how this is all coming together? It is just perfect on paper!

So, without further adieu, here is what is going down in my kitchen this week: 

Tuesday: Chicken Skillet with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Brussels Sprouts
Wednesday: Ham, Cheddar, and Spinach Quiche
Thursday: Slow-Cooker Beef Tips Over Rice
Friday: Slow-Cooker Crispy Chicken Carnitas

You will see that I am one day short as today was Labor Day, thus quelling my need to plan ahead. A few of the recipes I've linked above are newbies in my kitchen, so be on the lookout for some thoughts on the subject.

For all of you who are also staring a new school year in the face tomorrow morning, I wish you good luck and God's speed. I like to think that the start of a new year brings out the best emotions in all of us with our grand expectations and wishes and stress for all that beautiful newness brings. 

Go get em, everybody! 

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