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Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Helping Mornings Happen (with a hot breakfast)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

We began another "homeschool year" last week. No more easy days of just a little Math and Reading for fun: it's back to all the usual subjects and being disciplined enough to work a little more and play a little less. Especially for me! I have no idea how the house is going to stay cleaned or organized, but school gets first priority right now, as it must. :)

As I was contemplating my plans and ideas for the academic year ahead, breakfast was on my mind. I've been making hot breakfasts all summer, and I didn't want to give that up.

For one thing, it's a lot cheaper to make oatmeal or even the occasional meal of eggs and toast than to have cold cereal or (even homemade) granola bars. I also feel it's healthier, and I want the kids to have a good start to their day. If I'm going to expect them to sit still and read or write or study, I need to feed them food that will help them be at their best!

Plus, I'm crazy about my own breakfast of either oatmeal with add-ins or my salmon-and-eggs. If I wouldn't want to tackle a morning on cold cereal, then I can't feel right about asking my kids to.

My kitchen before bed on school nights
My kitchen on school nights, ready for the following morning

To help streamline my life, I came up with a breakfast menu plan to repeat for the foreseeable future:

Monday - Friday: Oatmeal with add-ins for the kids; salmon and eggs and coffee/tea for myself

Saturday: Wheat berry pancakes, scrambled eggs, and turkey bacon

Sunday: Omelets and toast

I have bananas on hand most of the time, and kids can have them before breakfast ot for a mid-morning snack. Lunches and dinners include fruits and vegetables as well.

In order to start the day out well, I have to ALWAYS clean up the kitchen before bed. Some time around having 3-4 kids, I stopped cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and spent a year or two cleaning up the kitchen every morning. It wasn't the end of the world, but it sure didn't make me feel like I was on top of things and I found myself trying to avoid the kitchen instead of gladly heading there upon waking!

Here's how I prep my kitchen for the following day in order to get a good start:

Ready to make salmon and eggs

I get out the pan(s) needed for breakfast. I use a small skillet for my salmon and eggs, and a pan for the oatmeal. I put the water in for the oatmeal, and set out the salt, spoons, hot pads, etc.

AeroPress ready to go

I don't have anything fancy for coffee (e.g. timed or near-instant) but I do love a couple cups of coffee and some tea in the morning. I use an AeroPress to make some really great coffee, and I get it ready with the coffee grounds in the filter and water in the tea kettle on the stove. I put a tea bag in my tea cup, too.

The stuff for oatmeal

In the morning, I turn on the stove burners first thing. While the water is heating up and my skillet is preheating, I put away some clean dishes from the counter. I usually close the dishwasher and have one of the kids help unload it later in the day.

Clean dishes on the counter

This was today's dishes. Some days there are fewer pans to wash, thankfully. :)

Books ready for school

While I'm making breakfast, which takes about 15 minutes, I supervise the kids at the table doing a writing assignment or another subject if they prefer. On the days that I have them write in their journals, they have to do that until breakfast is ready.

I have everyone's books already out on the table. Since we don't do every subject every day, and everyone's books are on one bookshelf, it can get confusing. So, I look at my list/plan and pull out what's needed.

Ready to eat!

Here's our kindergartener Ruth (5), who wanted her picture taken with her bowl of oatmeal. She had helped me that morning by sprinkling some flaked coconut and chocolate chips on top of everyone's bowls of oatmeal. :)

Everyone clears their own dishes when they're finished eating, washes their spot at the table, and gets back to their school work. I do the day's dishes in the afternoon/evening.

So really, the only difference between how we're doing breakfast now and how we did it all summer is that I'm getting things ready the night before, and we're starting earlier in the morning (~6am instead of ~8am). Oh, and I'd be glad to start later but the kids all get up early! So, we start early. :)

I hope this has given you a few ideas for your mornings, or maybe just some inspiration to take a look at what you currently do and find small ways to make it more efficient! :)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Slicing cheese tip (Sabby Ink)
2.
3.

Comments

Tip

May I add an idea that I learned from my daughter?

I keep my teapot on the stove all.the.time. But, my daughter takes hers off the stove when cooking on the stove top. Her teapot still looks brand new. Mine has grease baked on the side facing the front burner. So, when I bought a new shiny silver teapot, it is taken off every time I use the stove. It still looks brand new.

What??

Kindergartener?!? I'm pretty sure I was reading her birth story just yesterday!

Ruth

I agree! She's so pretty and looks just like her momma!

Me too!

My kids go to school, but I find thet all if us start on a better foot if I am organized the night before. Then I can put my energy into helping my kids get out the door happily.

Love it!

What a great idea! We're getting ready for school as well, with a kindergartner and 1st grader. I wanted to start this week but we I am having some health issues that will put off school for a week or so.

I have a tip to share this week:
6 uses for an ice cream scoop
http://www.simplefoody.org/uses-for-an-ice-cream-scoop/

Soaking oatmeal.

One more thing to help your morning run smoothly is that you can put the oatmeal into the water at night. This soaks the oatmeal for better digestion (add a tablespoon or so of yogurt or apple cider vinegar).

~Katie
www.simplefoody.org

2 Tips

I have 2 tips, but they're both ways to use up leftover already cooked oatmeal.
#1 - Blueberry (or chocolate chip) oatmeal bread
http://purposelyfrugal.com/2013/08/12/save-the-scraps-blueberry-oatmeal-bread/
#2 - Strawberry chocolate oatmeal smoothie
http://purposelyfrugal.com/2013/08/26/save-the-scraps-strawberry-chocolate-oatmeal-smoothie/

Thanks for your great tips!!! Breakfast can be crazy sometimes at our house!

I can't believe how grown up

I can't believe how grown up Ruth looks!

great post, I was just

great post, I was just thinking about how I could make our mornings run smoother, I have one I home school and one that is entering his 2nd year of high school. These are great tips that I can customize to our family.
Shari

kindergarten

I was just curious what type of work you do for kindergarten? This is my first year attempting to home school. I have a daughter who is a senior in public school this year. I'm just not sure where to begin with my younger girls. We've been working in workbooks that I got at Wal-Mart and worksheets that I have printed off the internet. I just am afraid I am going to short change my little girls. I get a little overwhelmed looking everything up online. :-) Any feedback from any homeschool moms would be great.

re:kindergarten

It sounds to me that you're doing just fine.
Read to them, teach them the alphabet, addition/subtraction flash cards, coloring books...they're only 5, just teach them the basics. :) You'll do just fine!

Hi Tammy!

I love your new table, I bet that's wonderful for the schooling! Ruth is getting so grown up. They grow up entirely too fast. I hope you and Joshua are doing well. E-mail me sometime, I've been absent from MFP lately but would like to know how you are doing.

Sydney
316ramirez(at)gmail(dot)com

kindergarten work

Jennihen, I'm not a homeschooling mom, but I am a mom and I am a teacher as well. There is a series called What Your _____________ Needs To Know (fill in the blank there with a grade level) that will help you. Teachers are now working from the common core learning standards and you can access what each child is expected to know from the internet. Most kindergarten students are learning letters and their sounds and simple sight words, writing their first and last names, writing some high frequency words (I like the ball, I love my mom, etc), colors, shapes, counting to 100, simple addition and subtraction, simple graphing, number words, color words and so on. They learn about holidays and families and do simple science experiments. Explode The Code is great for learning to read and read books to the kids and discuss the story elements with them. Google kindergarten teaching blogs because there are some great ones out there.

kindergarten

It sounds to me that you're doing just fine. You are mom, you taught your darlings how to walk, potty trained them, and have taken care of them all these years. You can do this and do it well! Nowadays there is much help and encouragement out there for homeschool parents.
Here's a site that I think will encourage you: http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/.

teach them how to read, teach them the alphabet, do some adding and subtracting, teach correct letter formation, coloring, etc...and they'll be fine.

Next year you could check into sites like rainbowresource.com which has a lot of the curriculum that is out there. The ladies also have a free online chat consultation if you have any questions.

Homeschool routine

Tammy,
I would love to hear about your homeschooling week, how you juggle subjects and teaching individual kids, toddlers and kitchen/house work. I am homeschooling two with a toddler underfoot and would love input from other homeschooling moms.

Hannah D.

Kitchen Tip

Found a neat way to clean cabinet grime. Also homeschooling this year! Yay for homeschooling moms :-)

http://mymainehomestead.blogspot.com/2013/09/do-you-have-grungy-cabinets.html

Always excited to read a new

Always excited to read a new post from you! Hope you are well in your blogging absence!

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