School has started and so have all the activities. It’s a good thing to have a plan for dinner. Maybe a full month of meals is not doable for all families, but it’s the way I like to do it. I hope this menu inspires you to cook a few more dinners in September than you did in August. Cooking and eating at home as a family has many psychological and physical health benefits!
Here’s my menu for the new month:
And here’s one you can print:
September 2019 Menu
And as always, here is my collection of recipes on the September 2019 Menu Pinterest Board.
I was running this morning and decided to do a “guided run” through my running app. A guided run has a recorded coach who will talk you through your run and give you instructions or things to focus on to help make stronger, more confident runners. Today’s workout included a quote that really struck me. The coach said “Start your run by thinking of what you will gain, not what you will lose.” He went on to explain that some people might have a weight loss goal, but thinking about losing things (even weight) has a negative undertone. Instead, he suggested that those people re-frame their thought process to be about gaining health and fitness. I thought that was such great advice! And it can be relevant in almost any context. Any change we make for the better means giving something up, but it’s important to our success to focus on what we get, not what we lose.
I am going to tell you a secret. I love boxed cake mixes. I almost never bake cakes from scratch, or brownies for that matter. The cake and brownie mixes on the market today are just too good a deal to bother with baking from scratch. The mixes are extremely economical compared to buying specialty flours and are almost fail proof. I will occasionally doctor the mixes up a bit to be more creative, interesting, or indulgent. Sometimes I put peanut butter and chocolate chips into a plain fudge brownie mix. Sometimes I put different flavored pudding mixes into cake batter to create a flavor that is not on my grocery store shelf. Sometimes, like with my pineapple upside-down cake, I replace the water with fruit juice.
So, for this cake I used a boxed yellow cake mix and added in all of the juice from a can of pineapple rings plus a little water. I poured the juice into my liquid measuring cup and it measured about 3/4 cups. The cake mix needs 1 cup of liquid so I topped the juice off with water until I had 1 full cup of liquid. I added in 1/2 cup canola oil and 3 eggs. Mixed with an electric hand-mixer for the time specified on the cake mix box (I think it was 2 minutes). I also sprayed my cast iron skillet with non-stick spray and heated it up on the stove top. I threw in some butter- 6 tablespoons should do the trick- and about half a cup of brown sugar. I let that cook for a minute or two before arranging my pineapple rings and cherries. Pour in the cake batter and bake at 325 for about 40-50 minutes. The cake mix directions do not have a bake time for the cast iron skillet, so I had to just keep an eye on it after about 35 minutes. You can check the doneness of your cake by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out goopy, the cake isn’t done. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready to come out of the oven. Once out, let the cake cool for about 5-10 minutes, then turn it over onto your cake stand or cutting board. Remember, the cast-iron is still hot and very heavy. I actually had to get my husband to do this part because my cutting board is also heavy.
So easy, so good!
My kids start back to school next week and I want to make packing lunches as quick and painless as possible, but I also want the lunches to be healthy. The plan I’ve come up with is this:
I made up a list of foods, categorized by food group, that I find acceptable for their lunches. On the day we make the grocery list, I will have them pick one or two foods from each category to put on the grocery list for the coming week. I will then prep and portion the foods so my two little girls can just grab the pre-portioned foods and toss them in their lunchboxes in a hurry. Best part: I don’t have to rush to make lunches while getting everyone ready for school!
This time of year can be tough.
Transitioning out of summer routines and into the more structured routines of school can be a stressful time for parents and children. This transition becomes even more complicated for co-parents as they work to coordinate their schedules so that both might be involved in their child’s life. This transition also increases the need for communication between co-parents as they coordinate school costs, school pictures, parent-teacher conferences, school events, homework tasks and more. The increased need for communication also can increase the opportunity for miscommunication and conflict between co-parents.
- Consider a written contract to clarify expectations.
It is important to have clear and understood expectations between co-parents before or as soon as possible after the children return to school. An agreed upon written contract between co-parents can be an effective way to clarify expectations. This contract can address the ways both parents have determined they can best support their child.
- Set up situations so everyone wins.
It is important to remember to set up win-win situations for both parents. When both parents are included and involved, the child wins too! The following are some areas you may want to plan for to set up win-win situations for you and your child:
- Determine how school expenses will be split among parents.
- Determine who will pick up and take your child(ren) to school.
- Determine the arrangements when school is out of session for holidays, teacher work days, etc.
- Determine how parents will be notified of school events. If there is a school newsletter or email list, ensure both parents’ addresses or email addresses are included.
- Determine how homework will be addressed. If the child(ren) have mid-week visitation with the noncustodial parent, it is important both parents support schoolwork that needs to be done during the time the child is with each parent.
- Determine how you want to handle parent-teacher conferences. Both parents may attend together, or each parent easily can have an individual conference.
- Make sure both parents have an equal opportunity to order school photos, yearbooks, etc. Each parent should have access to order forms.
- Participate in mediation if negotiation fails.
If you are finding it difficult to communicate with your co-parent about the back to school transition. Or, if you can’t seem to find win-win situations for your child, then mediation may be an option for you. Mediators are trained professionals who help two parties who disagree come to a workable agreement for both parties. To learn more about mediation programs in you area click here or visit our resource pageon the Co-parenting for Resilience website.
Transitioning back into the school routine can be stressful, but you can avoid the back to school blues by setting clear expectations with your co-parent!