A Baker’s Dozen Ideas
-- by pamela spurling

If you find that you are frequently pressed for time, then maybe some of these ideas will be of help to you. One of the things I find to be most helpful is to have some very basic "absolutes" that must be done everyday and to have part of a meal done early in the day or to have some of the "work" taken out of the preparation of the meal in advance. Here’s a baker’s dozen ideas that may encourage you.

1. Have an "absolutes" list ready each day. You may not be a "list" person, but many find it helpful to see the list and check it off as jobs are completed. You may have a list just for yourself or one that incorporates the whole family. We do this so that I can keep track and they can keep track of what’s been done and what’s left to do. It also has a bit of an incentive built in because each person can see that the others have either done or not done their job.

2. Try to do things at the same time every day. Routines can really be a blessing---especially with lots of children.

3. Cook two meals at once---one to serve and one to seal and save for later in the freezer.

4. Try cooking 30 meals in advance and have them waiting in the freezer. This is really "do-able" and you’d be surprised at the ease this brings once the meals are done and ready to heat/cook and serve.

5. Another trick is to cook large amounts of meat or chicken in advance. Brown the ground beef with chopped onion and bag into your family size portions and freeze. You can do the same with roast; shred, bag, and freeze. Cook chicken, de-bone, chop or cube, bag and freeze.

6. Make your salad in advance, OR chop all your vegetables for the meal and keep ready in the refrigerator.

7. Try to do two things at once. If you are having pot roast one night, then make extra and have shredded beef sandwiches a couple of nights later. You can make several different meals with one kind of meat, so plan ahead for what your family likes. The key is to try and think of ways to spend time one day to save time another day.

8. Some women like having set nights for certain foods. This way they never wander around wondering what in the world to fix for dinner. Some like having something they can count on having on a given day of the week. For example, we used to have pizza on a certain night of the week because our schedule required an easy meal on that day... so I would make the salad early and make the pizza at dinner time.

9. I find that if I just do a little advance preparation and advance planning, that alone takes the stress out of meal preparation. I think we all get more done when our minds are clear!

10. Make sure you have your quiet time with the LORD. I didn’t list it first, but I recommend that it be the first part of your day.

11. Talk with your husband... find out what his priorities for your home/day are. See that you do your dead level best to accomplish them. Let the children know what Daddy’s wishes are and seek to fulfill them. This will really help you stay on track (accountability).

12. Try to find things you enjoy doing each day and set them as "rewards" for doing what you ought/must do. For example... if you like to read or sew or whatever, then make sure you never indulge in your favourite activity until your chores are done or until a certain set of things are done first... this is simple time management.

13. Time yourself doing a job... really and truly see how long it really takes to do this or that. You will be a better judge of listing your chores if you *know* what they are going to entail. For example unloading the dishwasher may take about 8 minutes, or so. Scrubbing the sink, tub, potty and wiping the floor area may take about 12 minutes, or so. Folding a "White" load of laundry takes about 12-18 minutes or so... depending if those socks are *clipped* or not!! You get the idea. This will help you be less overwhelmed as you plan your day---you will *know* what it takes to do the work. ***Remember... 15 minutes a day per room will keep your whole home tidy!

pamela spurling The Welcome Home 2001