time management

Trial and Error Routines: A Work-NIGHT Routine

I work two jobs — one during the day and one at night.  I’m blessed to never have to do both on the same day.  I waitress at night and it’s more of an “as-needed” position to fill in when other girls are away at college or when business is up and extra staff is needed.

This day also has the simplest routine!!  Yay for simple!

7:00 am – Wake up, feed Raegan, breakfast, pack lunches.

7:30 am – Get dressed, dress kids, feed dog, take dog out.

8:00 am – Leave for bus stop.

8:30 am – Hit the road.  Sometimes I have a meeting in the morning.  When I do, we leave as soon as the bus comes.  Raegan and I go out to breakfast at Friendly’s.  I hope that we can still do this when she is older.  Then, I take her to the meeting.  If I don’t have a meeting, I run errands around town in the morning.  If, by some miracle, we don’t have errands or meetings, we go home and clean a little.

11:30 am – Volunteer.  Once a week I tutor elementary kids at the school.  I just take the baby with me.  The kids love her and she is usually sleeping.

12:00 pm – Lunch, wash uniform, cook dinner.  While lunch is cooking, I make sure my uniform is clean for work.  If it’s not, I wash it.  I usually let it air-dry because I end up with a lot of stains and I don’t want the dryer to set any stains that I missed.  If Chris will be home, I get dinner ready so he can just reheat it when he gets home.  He can make pizza or tacos but most often he eats some leftovers that need to be used up.

1:00 pm – Naptime!!

3:30 pm – Pick Landon up at the bus stop.  My start-time varies but I usually have to be at work at 5:00 pm.  If that’s the case, I take the kids home and I get ready.  Landon starts his homework while I get dressed.  I make him some hot dogs or waffles as a snack.  Chris is usually home before I leave so I don’t have to worry about a sitter.  If I have to be at work earlier, I take the kids to my grandparents’ or parents’ house and leave straight from there to go to work.  If Chris is busy or working late, I do have to get a sitter, but that has only happened once or twice.

4:30 pm – Leave for work.  I can get there in ten minutes… ten minutes exactly.  But, if I try that, I risk getting a speeding ticket again.  Apparently getting there in ten minutes requires that I go 45 in a 35… according to the officer.

8:00 pm – Pump break.  Again, pumping is so unpredictable.  Some nights, if I think I’m going to be going home early, I will try to get done before I need to pump.  Other nights, I feel the need to pump pretty early in the night so I take the break as soon as I can.  I usually get about 3 oz, which matches what Raegan drinks while I’m gone.  She usually drinks what is left from my work day pumping and I freeze what I pump on a work night.

10:00 pm – Go home.  Again, I’m wired.  No headache.  Not tired.  I want to tell Chris all about my day and hear about his.  I don’t mind watching him play video games, but sometimes we watch a favorite show on NetFlix.  He usually wants to go to bed before I do.  I usually end up in bed by 11:30 pm.


Tomorrow, I’ll share a little bit more about why I work such a crazy schedule.  Don’t miss a post!!  Subscribe to Trial and Error Homemaking.


Menu for December 17-23

It’s almost Christmas!!  We have been doing Advent devotionals that we got for free at church in November.  The kids got books with a scripture passage, a poem, and a sticker for each day.  I see our poster filling up with stickers, but I’m still not convinced Christmas is really that close!


Monday:  Chicken Alfredo

Tuesday:  Tacos

Wednesday:  Pizza before church

Thursday:  Chicken Teriaki

Friday:  Pot Roast

Saturday:  {Not sure yet, I may be working} Leftovers?

Sunday:  Probably eating with family or going out to eat.

freezer cooking

Freezing Onions

Aldi had bags of onions — 3 lbs for $0.69 — so I got two.

Then, I let them sit in my fridge for a week or two because I had no idea what to do with them!!  My grandmother suggested I chop them up and freeze them.

I tried using my food processor but I thought it chopped the onion too finely.  So, I started a chopping assembly line in my kitchen.

  • Chop the ends off each onion
  • Cut each onion in half, lengthwise
  • Peel each onion half
  • Cut each onion crosswise, into small slices (like rainbows).
  • Stack slices in small piles
  • Chop stacks of slices

(I made a video, and I can’t get it to upload.  Boo.  Any ideas?)


When I was done chopping, I bagged the onions separately for freezing.  Each onion gave about 1.5 cups of chopped onion.  So, I bagged the chopped onion, one onion per bag, and flatted the bags to freeze.

You can take out a bag and break off the amount that you need if you need less than a whole onion.  Just make sure if you’re using a recipe that calls for less than 1 whole onion, you write on the bag how much is left!!


Menu for December 10 – 16

I have a terrible cold.  Sunday night I started to sniffle.. then when I woke up I felt like I was run over by a truck.

We have an insanely busy week, so of course, I’m sick.  I am forcing myself to go to work on Monday and Tuesday, then I’m crawling into bed and never coming out again.  Not really, because, again, we’re insanely busy.

We have something going on every night but Tuesday.  We also have an overflowing fridge — leftovers need to be eaten ASAP.  So, there isn’t really a menu this week.

Monday:  Between Scouts and other meetings, we didn’t eat dinner.

Tuesday:  Leftovers (I also have some chicken noodle soup in the freezer that I might get out).

Wednesday:  Pizza before Church

Thursday:  Christmas Party at Church

Friday:  Christmas Party at another Church (We have a Sunday church and a Wednesday Church… yay for two parties!)

Saturday:  Bowling with Scouts (Pizza)

Sunday:  Family Christmas Party

time management

Trial & Error Routines: A Day Off

Wednesday is the only weekday I have “off” completely, for now.  My schedule will completely change in January.

But for now, I start my day with a frantic rush to fix anything that has gone haywire during the first two days of the week.  A stove piled with groceries that can’t be cooked on, an overdue library book that no one has read, couches being used as book shelves or a makeshift coat closet, a dining room table taken straight from an episode of Hoaders… It’s amazing what can happen in just two days!

7:00 am – Wake up, nurse Raegan, snuggle Landon.  Since I don’t have to “be ready” when Landon leaves for school, we make some chill-time in the morning.  We usually watch an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond from NetFlix.  We say goodbye to Daddy.  We talk about school.  We play with the baby.  It’s just a special time for the two of us.

7:30 am – Make beds, get dressed, get kids dressed, breakfast, laundry, take the dog out, feed dog.  I heat up Landon’s waffles and start on lunches right away.  Then I make myself a shake and take care of the dog.  Landon feeds the dog when he’s done with breakfast.  I throw diapers in the washer for the initial rinse cycle before we leave.  We’re not in such a rush to get to the bus stop, because it’s not a problem for me to just take him to school if we’re running behind.

8:10 am – Leave for bus stop.  This bus can be super early or super late, so we never know what’s going to happen in the morning.  I usually bring along spelling words to practice or make my to-do list for the day while we wait.

8:30 am – Laundry, feed Raegan, tidy-up.  I try to start the wash cycle for the diapers as soon as we get home, but sometimes I don’t remember until halfway through the morning.  I give Raegan her baby-food breakfast and not long after that she’s ready for her morning nap.  Sometimes I rock her, but sometimes she falls asleep in her bouncy seat.  Then, I start to scramble to tackle something before she wakes back up.  Usually it’s a kitchen counter or the dining room table.  Sometimes it’s a cluttered living room that I get ready for vacuuming (read: remove all Legos from floor).

10:00 am – Raegan wakes up, nurse Raegan, laundry, watch TV or computer.  I try to switch the laundry when I hear it beep, but Raegan’s sleep schedule is my back-up reminder.  When awake, Raegan sits on her own and can entertain herself for a short while.  We cuddle and babble and if she’s hungry I nurse her.  If she’s content, I check my email, read blog posts, and watch YouTube videos.  She’s fine as long as she can see me.  Sometimes she watches with me.  She’s a big fan of Taylor Swift’s new video, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

“I also just learned to stick out my tongue and I will show you at every opportunity.”

11:30 am – Lunch, laundry, dishes, prep for dinner.  Raegan loves sweet potatoes, but she’ll eat almost anything.  She eats about half a container of baby food for lunch and I make myself pasta, eggs, or a shake.  I switch the laundry over to the dryer (or if it’s nice outside, I use the clothesline).  I get the dishes done and get out anything I need for dinner.  Sometimes, I try to get some freezer cooking done.  I might I start the crockpot with something like chicken breast that I will shred and freeze.  Or I might make a batch of waffles.  Or I might chop up some potatoes or onions to freeze.

1:00 pm – Naptime.  Yes, we both nap.  Raegan still doesn’t sleep through the night.  She can, but she rarely does.  Nursing also sucks up all of my energy (but burns a ton of calories!!)

3:20 pm – Pick Landon up from the bus stop.  While I’m waiting for the bus, I tidy up my car and go over my weekly planner to add things and check things off.  Sometimes I take something to read, but my car gets pretty messy so cleaning it usually takes up most of that time.  Once, I tried to skip the nap, and I fell asleep in the car waiting for the bus.  Oops.

3:45 pm – Put things away, homework, start dinner (sometimes).  As soon as we get home, I try to put things away and get them ready for tomorrow.  Landon starts his homework while I finish things up from the day.  Every other week, I cook dinner for Chris and I.  Every other week, Landon and I go to church with my family and we go out for pizza.  Chris doesn’t get home from work in time to go with us because he works late every Wednesday.  Those weeks, Chris eats leftovers or stops to get himself fast food or makes himself a pizza at home.

5:45 pm – Dinner and church.  If I cooked, this is when we eat, then I leave for Bible Study at 6:45.  If not, it’s when we leave to go to dinner, and we go to church straight from dinner.  Raegan eats her baby-food dinner with us.  We always go to the same pizza place.  It’s a fun little event that Landon looks forward to every week.  Every Wednesday he asks what time his grandparents are picking him up or if I’m taking him.  One night in October, there was a trick-or-treat event at the local college so I suggested we all go.  Landon said, “I’d rather go to church.  God is what is really important, anyway.”  Such wisdom from my little man!

8:30 pm – Landon’s bedtime, nurse Raegan.  If I’m at Bible Study, Chris puts Landon to bed as soon as he gets home.  Since bedtime is later on Wednesdays, because of church, I let him sleep in on Thursdays.  Whenever I get home I nurse Raegan.  Sometimes I do it while I’m reading Landon his devotions.

10:00 pm – My bedtime.  I’m usually wired and want to tell Chris all about what I learned that night.  I want to hear about his day.  And, I need to put away all the laundry I did that I piled on our bed.

All in all, Wednesday is really a catch-up day for me.  But, I don’t get headaches and I don’t feel like crashing into bed at 7:30 pm.  The house looks almost presentable when I turn out the lights and that’s a good feeling for me.  It’s ready for the other half of my week, when I work nights instead of days.


More to come in this series!  Next week I’ll be writing about what I do when I work in the evenings.  Don’t miss a post!!  Subscribe to Trial and Error Homemaking.


Menu December 3 – 9

Nothing too exciting going on this week… We’re going to see a friend in a Christmas play on Sunday and then a big group of us are going to Friendly’s for dinner after that.  Other than that, my plans are to clean the dining room, and maybe decorate outside for Christmas.  Thrilling, isn’t it?

Monday:  Pasta Carbonara

Tuesday:  Tacos (maybe Chicken Ranch Tacos)

Wednesday:  Pizza Date

Thursday:  Pot Roast

Friday:  General Tso’s Chicken

Saturday:  Country Fried Steaks (from last week’s menu)

Sunday:  Out to dinner

time management

Trial & Error Routines: Work-Day Routine

Some of you know, I started “back to work” in October.  I say that with quotes because..
#1… I only work two days a week at this job
#2… I started waitressing in the evenings when Raegan was 6 weeks old.

Even though I had been working for months, starting back to a daytime job meant some major routine changes for us.  Raegan goes to a daycare center while I am at work.  Landon stays with my grandparents after he gets off the school bus and until I get home from work.

Working during the day means rushed mornings, packed lunches, and less time to clean the house while everyone is gone.  It also means I am even more tired than before and I started getting migraines.

It was rough for awhile.  Routines go a long way in helping me keep my sanity.  Our routine has finally settled in enough that I can share what we do to make our mornings and evenings go smoothly.

7:00 am – Wake up, nurse Raegan, make beds, showers, breakfast.  Depending on when Raegan wakes up, sometimes I nurse her before I get up.  Sometimes she isn’t hungry because she ate earlier in the morning.  Landon makes his own bed. Landon eats waffles that I make up in big batches.  I just reheat 2 for him each morning.  I make myself a breakfast shake/smoothie.

7:30 am – Get dressed, get kids dressed, pack lunches.  I wish I could get into the habit of setting out clothes the night before.  But, I don’t.  Most of this time is spent looking for Landon’s shoes.  I pack him pretzels or cereal for snack, and a large apple for lunch.  I know, that’s a terrible lunch, but he doesn’t even finish the apple.   If I pack more he brings most of it home uneaten.

8:00 am – Take dog out, feed the dog, and leave for bus-stop.  Landon feeds the dog while I take the dog out for a potty break.  We start out the door at 8:00 and somehow, everyday, it takes us at least 10 minutes to travel 4 blocks to the bus-stop.

8:30 am – Hit the road.. I have a fairly long commute.  But, I budget enough time that I get to work at least 15 minutes early most of the time.

9:00 am – Drop Raegan off at daycare.  She takes about 6 oz of expressed breastmilk and 2 bottles (1 is an extra).  She rarely drinks more than 1 oz as an afternoon snack.  They also make her rice cereal with some of the milk she brings.  The day care provides baby food that she eats for morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack.  She uses disposable diapers at daycare that I send in.  If she happens to have a cloth diaper on in the morning, they just put it in her wet-bag for me and I take it later.

9:10 am – Arrive at work.  This time varies depending on how quickly Raegan settles in to play at daycare.  If I have time, I try to pump before the workday starts.  Sometimes I don’t get anything.  Sometimes I can pump 4 oz.  I also have to check my email before I start to see if anyone has cancelled their appointments.

11:30 am – Visit Raegan, lunchtime feeding.  I have been making shakes and taking them for lunch so I don’t have to go eat lunch myself.  I can drink them while Raegan is nursing.  Then, I can either rock her to sleep (if she hasn’t already napped) or play with her for a little while.  Her teachers are very friendly and they make me feel very welcomed in her classroom.

1:00 pm – Back to work.  This is actually my first appointment slot.  I’m usually back in the office before 12:30, unless I need to run errands or actually stop to eat lunch.  I try to answer emails again before my next appointment.

2:30 pm – Pump break!  Pumping is so unpredictable.  Sometimes I get 6 oz, sometimes less than 1 oz.  I have enough milk saved in the freezer that I don’t stress about how much I get.  It only takes me 10-15 minutes.

4:30 pm – Last appointment.  Email check.  Leave.  Sometimes it takes more than a hint for my last appointment to realize time is up.  I check my email one last time, file my paperwork, and pack up the for day.

4:45 pm – Pick up Raegan.  Raegan is usually sleeping when I get there so I try to gently pack her into her carseat and she sleeps the whole way home.  Her teachers give me a record of her diaper changes, feedings, and naps.

5:30 pm – Pick up Landon.  Go home. As soon as we get home, Landon starts his homework.  He does most of his math homework alone, while I let the dog out, clean up the kitchen, and get dinner ready.  Then, he does his reading homework with me (while I nurse Raegan) and we practice his spelling words.

6:30 pm – Dad comes home.  Eat.  Sometimes Chris, being the amazing husband that he is, stops to get groceries on his way home from work.  Once he’s settled in, we eat dinner, then we veg out together in the living room until Landon goes to bed at 7:30.

7:30 pm – Pjs, Devotions, Bedtime.  I cannot believe my second-grader goes to bed at 7:30, but if it’s any later, he is a huge grump!  We read from the The Adventure Bible Book of Devotions.  He turns on his radio and snuggles up with his one real dog and countless plush dogs.

10:00 pm – My bedtime.  Raegan still sleeps with me.  I nurse her when I’m ready for bed and she sleeps for awhile.  If she’s really sound asleep, I put her in her crib and she sleep.  Otherwise we co-sleep and she nurses throughout the night.

I rarely get any housework done on the days I’m working.  If I do, it’s a full dishwasher that doesn’t get emptied.  On a really good day, I can do a load of laundry.  That has happened once or twice.  But, I think I’ve found my rhythm.  In this series, I’ll share my routines for the weekend and the days I’m “off”.  Don’t miss a post!!  Subscribe to Trial and Error Homemaking.

What time-savers do you use to make your day go more smoothly?