September 28, 2023

September improvements big and small

Maybe this is nesting, or maybe this just the transition to fall and the desire for a cozy at-home life, but recently we managed to check off a number of improvement projects.  

First up is our lounge corner, which Andy and I never really liked but which fulfilled our standard "functionality" goal (Lilah never saw a camera she didn't want to pose for)
We've always dreamed of built ins for either side of the fireplace but that is all the £££.  So instead we purchased a sideboard which matches the one in our dining room and fits impressively well:
Kids toys out of sight - yay!  We need to get some different shaped toy storage for the cabinets but so far things *Almost* fit.  I also told the kids they cannot use those drawers and we now have three empty drawers to use!  I am never in a rush to fill things like that so I plan to leave the drawers empty until they have a really good use.

I decided that we had too many puzzles spread around the house now as well, so I brought all puzzles downstairs and decided to have a clear out.  It turns out we did have far too many puzzles but I never realized as they were stored in many places:
During my lunch break I took the stack on the right to the charity shop, along with 3 other bags of kids toys and clothes, and a set of bedsheets I never liked very much.  Now all the puzzles fit in the new sideboard:
I have been meaning to drop off the charity pile for a while now so happy to tick that off my list!  We now have two empty shelves in the kids closet where puzzles once lived... I'm in no rush to fill these up either.

We've also started a new food planning system.  We normally plan our meals as part of our Family Logistics and Operational Meeting on Fridays. However it seemed to be a pain point in the meeting... I did not have the mental energy on a Friday night to think of meals.  I could thinks of scheduled, play dates, to dos... but the meal bit was just dragging. 

Last week I wrote down a list of meals which we then just allocated to specific days during the FLOM.  This week we decided to use a sticky note on the shopping list to write down meal ideas for next week - we have more than enough to cover the week already:
Hopefully this will make our Friday FLOM much easier.  We don't have a great system for when we do our actual shopping yet, sometimes Andy does it on Fridays or we can order delivery on Friday for Sunday.  However at least we aren't trying to solve the "what should we eat" problem during FLOM.

I've also got some loose rules to try and make meal planning easier:
1 pasta dish a week
1 potato dish a week
1 slow cooker meal a week

Yesterday I made tortilla soup in the slow cooker - slow cookers come into their own in the fall!  I only wish my kids ate slow cooker food. Their dream meals include individual food groups not touching at all.  Slow cookers are all the food groups touching all the time.

Also, I bought this ridiculous lunch box for the kids.    It was far more expensive than is reasonable and I think it's pregnancy hormones that made me do it, but I am very excited.  
I am somewhat aware that I have about 15 years of packing lunches ahead of me so I may as well spend money on something to make it more fun for me (and hopefully more fun for kids too)


  1. I am all for spending a little extra money to add joy to a task that you will be doing daily for the next 15 years;-) And let's face it, no one has ever gone broke from buying nice lunchboxes.

    The new sideboard looks fab!

    1. Thank you! It is true - I'll so easily spend money on some things but a lunch box I'll use for years seems a luxury :-)

  2. Slow cookers for life! I'm so excited for soup season, too!

  3. This is J from, I can’t log in for some reason.

    We had some soup this week, it was tasty. Figuring out what to cook is horrible, and a Friday night sounds like a horrible time to do it, so congrats on your new system. I find that having some kind of pattern helps, like tacos on Tuesday, pasta on Thursday, etc. When I was a kid, my mom and our roommate used to go out to breakfast every Saturday morning and figure out a menu for the week. That made it somewhat pleasant of a task, I think.

  4. We have those lunch boxes— still going strong from when harry was in kindergarten 12 years ago, although only 2/5 kids use them on the regular these days. They are so good for picnics, and my 10 y/o uses one to hold earrings

    1. Ahh I'm so glad to hear this! I follow another blogger who uses them and they seem to hold up well... I feel like I would eat my lunch out of it if I could!

  5. I have heard great things about those lunch boxes! But right now in this season of life it's easier to have L buy lunch at her school. R eats at his preschool (included). Love the side board!

  6. I bought my kiddos planet box 13 years ago - still kicking!! And I just loved how clean it gets, unlike plastic. Great choice

  7. Thanks for the reminder - I should get out my slowcooker (it's always stored away because of lack of counterspace).

    I love what you did in the lounge corner - the sideboard looks great!