Simple Morning Routine
If I had a nickle for every schedule I have written out to simplify my mornings, I would have a couple dollars. Let's be truthful, there are 20 nickles in a dollar and while I have not counted how many schedules I have written, I do know that I am not totally OCD about this topic. Did you catch the sarcasm in that?
I have longed for, dreamt of, dare I say yearned for a simple morning routine. Each Sunday, I give myself a pep talk about how I am going to set my self up to have a simple morning. One that allows time for the quiet of the morning to be heard, time to unload the dishwasher and fold the laundry that dried during the night (praise the good Lord for modern conveniences such as these). Maybe even enough time to do a yoga posture or two and talk with God about the day ahead.
Do you see this in your mind's eye unfolding? Can you feel the relaxation that I get when I just simply think about this amazing start to my day? Do you see it?
Well, hold on to that and let me paint you another picture... the one that is more realistic. The alarm goes off in the wee hours of morning, it is still dark outside and the birds have not yet started their song. As I begin to move to silence the noise, I realize that my arm is asleep and my shoulder almost dislocated from holding and trying to snuggle our 16 month old during the night. At some point she made her way into our bed... not surprising as it happens 8 days a week (again sarcasm). I start to tap my husband on the shoulder to let him know that I am getting up and to be aware of little miss in the bed and keep her from rolling out, only to realize that his side of the bed is empty. Did he leave our bed to sleep in a quieter place such as the couch or maybe he is up making coffee for me as I hear some other husbands do? No, he is with our other child, in his bed and likely has been most of the night. You see we play musical beds each and every night in the Jenkins' household. I truly don't even remember what a full night of sleep is like - and our oldest is almost 5!
okay so bring it back to the alarm going off and my arm being asleep. I log roll out of the bed and trip over the pile of clothes that I told myself I was going to put away 3 days ago. I make it to the other side of the bedroom to my alarm, because I read somewhere that putting your alarm on the opposite side of the room will wake you up enough that you will stay up and get started on your day. In the time that it takes to silence the alarm, I decide that I was up in the night with little miss and deserve a couple more minutes of sleep and slink back into bed. After all it is still dark outside.
I close my eyes for what feels like 5 minutes and awake to my little sitting up in the bed handing me my glasses and saying "up". In reality an hour and half has passed and we are almost running late before we ever get out of bed. I jump up and grab her up, run into my sons room to wake up the boys and it is off the the races! Cartoons are turned on, nutragrain bars are opened (my kids absolute favorite breakfast - hey it could be worse right?) drinks are poured and coffee is started. The kids are begged to come to the table to eat. Before our oldest even gets to the table he is asking for a piece of candy or a Tic Tac - the orange ones of course - and the youngest is mad because I broke her nutragrain bar in to two pieces. So we open another one. Mind you we are only about 5 minutes into our morning. My husband and I all but Rock Paper Scissors over who gets to take a shower first. Who ever wins runs for the hot water while the other parent is left to fend for themselves and work to dress both kids for school. Then it is grab clothes that you hope are clean - that pile on the floor that I meant to put away 3 days ago has turned into a bigger pile and I am not so sure what is clean and what is not. At this point there is barely enough time for the sniff test - just grab it and put it on! We are running out of time.
"In the car" I yell from the kitchen towards the living room where my oldest is glued to the TV only to be informed that he has on no sock or shoes, nor has he brushed his teeth yet. I head towards the living room telling him to "hop to it, we are running late" and turn the TV off. I swear he has no concept of time. My husband is pulling on his boots while telling us all to have a good day and that he loves us. We get in a quick peck and its out the door for him. I am still chasing our youngest through the house trying to get her into her coat! I finally get the kids shuffled out the door and into the car. I climb into the drivers seat and put the car in reverse... "man, I forgot ______". I will let you fill in the blank because it could be a number of things.
PHEW - are you exhausted? GEEZ I am!
Mornings can be rough and having a routine or schedule seems like such an amazing aspiration. Like I mentioned earlier, I have mad several schedules and have set a dozen timelines that I thought would work perfectly for our family. But here is the truth, life does not run on a set schedule or a fixed timeline. And thus, we must learn to do best with what we have.
There are certain "tasks" that I have to get down each morning and they are as follows:
- Get myself and the kids dressed in somewhat weather appropriate and matching clothes
- Put my makeup on
- Breakfast on the table
- Have my lunch ready to take out the door with me
- Have a cup of coffee
You know the coffee has to be there and while I would appreciate it to be the first thing I do each morning, it is usually the last and my first sip is usually taken about 2 miles from my house. But hey, at least I am getting it in!
While many mornings occur as outlined above, there are a couple things that I have put into place that make these 5 things easier for us each morning. I am going to outline them here for you. I do not claim to be an expert in this area at all but I do know that these simple changes that made a BIG impact on how our mornings run!
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I have a capsule wardrobe. Don't know what that is? Check out my friend, Courtney Carver over at Be More With Less/Project 333 to learn more about it. In a nutshell, a capsule wardrobe is a limited articles of clothing that all coordinate, fit and compliment your body, and that you enjoy wearing. This single change in my own space, has made the biggest difference in my morning! I absolutely love how quickly I can pull an outfit together and the phrase "I have nothing to wear" rarely comes out of my mouth any more. It used to be a normal statement most mornings.
If you are being honest with yourself you would agree that while you may have 500 items in your closet, you likely only wear about 1/4 of them. So why not let the others go? The less visual stimulation that you have, the easier the choices are! Getting rid of all of your clothes is a scary thought for some, and I will admit that it was a big deal for me. however, I have not regretted it a single day thus far!
The kids do not have a capsule wardrobe but I have aspirations of working towards that as time goes on. Our boy is easy, a pair of jeans with a soft shirt and he is good. Right now my little miss is easy to, I simply pick it out and she wear it... I know that won't last! But I will relish in it while it does.
For the kids... here are a few tips. Keep everything that they can wear to school in drawers or on lower level shelves that they can reach. All of our drawers are organized by type of attire - long sleeved shirts, short sleeved shirts, soft pants and shorts, jeans and khakis, undies and socks. I keep it like this to help our boy learn to "pick out" out his own clothes. By only making items accessible that he can wear to school, I am scaling down his choices. I often let him choose in the morning what he wants to wear, but if your little one is a bit indecisive you may want to get clothes picked out the night before.
For years and years I was a drug store makeup junkie. I had every color of eye shadow you could possibly imagine, 4 different shades of foundation because I could never match it in the store, and 1000 tubes of dried up mascara. I enjoyed wearing makeup and I still do... however, my tastes and focus has changed A LOT in this area.
I am now a big believer of "more is less" and "the timeless look." By really holding on to these two thoughts, I have been able to downsize my make up bag and save quite a bit of money in the meantime.
On a normal day - I wear foundation - which I apply with a foundation brush to aid in coverage and keep my hands clean, blush, mascara, and use a brow pencil. If I am going out or simply want to step up my makeup, I will add in eye shadow and eye liner with a great lip color. Simple, Simple, Simple. I do not get fancy with my makeup nor do I try to keep up with the trends. I wear foundation and blush that compliment my skin tone and usually simply go 1 shade darker in my foundation in the summer time and a pinker blush too. My brow pencil is a medium brown so that it look natural yet still gives some great definition. My eye liner and mascara are always classic black and my eye shadow stays in the neutral tones. Lips is something that I do like to play around with and have a multitude of glosses, sheers, and lipsticks that I enjoy playing with. A pop of color of your lips can take that "everyday" face into the evening quickly and simply.
So... where do I get all this great makeup from? If you know or follow me much, you may have already guessed it... BEAUTYCOUNTER. Beautycounter's make up is amazing and gives me a great look without feeling like I am under a mask while wearing it. I have been working with Beautycounter for around 14 months now and have been wearing their makeup for just about that same amount of time. I have not 1 time purchased a makeup product from the drug store since finding Beautycounter and I never intend to again. Beautycounter is a company that is producing HIGH quality, HIGH performing and SAFE products for everyone in the family. I will be sure to share more on Beautycounter in another post, but for right now click HERE to see how quick and easy it can be for you to upgrade your own beauty routine with safer products.
For a while, we would play the "what do you want for breakfast game." Are you familiar with it? Here is how you play... ask your kids what they want to eat for breakfast and the tell you they don't know about 25 times and then the 26th time you ask, they change their answer to something like candy or ice cream or my personal favorite... whatever we do not have in the house! Ahh yes, I thought you would remember that game!
Well we stopped that game about 6 months ago and introduced the new game "Mommy Chooses" and might I say that I like it much better. Here is how it goes...
The kids and I have come up with 3 breakfast appropriate meals that they enjoy and ensure those items are stocked in the house for quick and simple breakfast. The kids still get to "choose" their own meals, but I am limiting their options. A big favorite in our house is a Nutra-grain bar and a scrammbled egg. Other options include cereal or PBJ on toast. The kids know what they can have and when I ask them which they would like, it is much easier to decide.
As for myself and the hubs - he rarely eats breakfast at home so I don't really plan much for him. However; I pretty much put the same rules on myself for breakfast as I do the kids, just with a twist. I really enjoy anything for breakfast and I do not mind eating the same thing for several days in a row. Because of this, I make up a batch of something on Monday mornings and eat on it for the remainder of the work week. A few recipes I enjoy are this Paleo Breakfast Casserole or this Sweet Potato Hash with eggs on top. I also enjoy an Apple Bowl too.
The apple bowl is something that I just kind of whip up without a recipe. I often adjust this out to however many days I am going to eat it, but here is the "recipe" for 1 serving...
- 1 apple - I like fuji or honeycrisp
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ghee (or butter)
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
I wash and dice my apple into bite sized pieces and toss it into a microwave safe bowl with the almond butter, cinnamon, and ghee. I cook it for about 2 minutes, stir, and cook for another 1 minute. I like my apples soft but not mushy so adjust the cooking time according to your preferences.
Top with almonds and coconut and enjoy!
By knowing what I am going to eat, I can shop to ensure I have the needed ingredients, prep ahead so that all I have to do is warm it up, and then I'm good for the entire week. It works perfectly for me.
Since I am a planner, my day goes much smoother if I have my lunch planned out and packed with me. I eat left overs of all kinds or will prep something specific just for my lunches like this awesome recipe I had last week!
I pre-pack all of my lunches for the week so that I can quickly grab them from the fridge and head our the door. I like to store my meals in glass containers. By doing this, I am able to store, reheat, and eat them all from the same container. I absolutely love these jars that I purchased from Crate and Barrel about a year ago! They have really served me well and I love how they look in the fridge - so pretty! And the best part is that they wont break the bank either!
COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE
To say that coffee is my favorite part of my morning routine would be a lie! I love coffee and have really become a bit of a coffee snob over the last 2 1/2 years. Being from Seattle, I think it is in my blood to love and consume coffee but I didn't really get into it until the hubs got me a french press and coffee bean grinder for Christmas a couple years ago. Now I take joy in grinding the perfect amount of beans each mornings, the tea kettle shooting steam towards the sky when it reaches the proper temperature, and then the setting of the timer to ensure I am able to pull just the right amount of flavor and caffeine from the beans. I know, I know....I am a little obsessed with this process.
Okay so I make my coffee and then I doctor it up - however not like you may think. I enjoy the flavor of coffee and do not like to mask that. I simply add 2 things to my coffee and, in a pinch can bring it down to just 1. I add a splash of Nut Pods or coconut milk and a scoop of collagen peptides. In the near future, like as soon as the mail gets here, I will be trying to combine these two loves and use Vital Proteins collagen peptide creamer... Stay tuned for my thoughts on that!
You might be wondering why I add collagen peptides to my coffee... or maybe even what the heck are collagen peptides altogether! I was just the same way until I did some research! Collagen is a protein that is found in our cells that "in a nut shell" gives them their flexibility, firmness, and ability to "hold together" our skin. That's right collagen is what breaks down as we get older, causing cellulite to show more abundantly and even wrinkles to appear. By adding collagen to your daily routine you are aiding in the repair of skin and hair, giving life back to joints, reducing cellulite and even helping with leaky gut. It is an all around win win. Any better yet - you can use the same ones I do by clicking HERE, which are odorless and tasteless to get your feet wet. I simply just stir a scoop into a 12 ounce cup of coffee each morning. You can also add them to tea or soups... anything really!
Well there you have it. My tips for making your morning routine a little bit simpler and hopefully a lot more enjoyable. If your morning is pure chaos right now, you may only want to implement on tip at a time. And, mine is ever evolving. Just this week we started a rule that there will be no TV or toys until breakfast is eaten, teeth and brushed, and clothes are on! Fingers crossed with kicks the habit of me having to say 100 times that it is time to do this or that.