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Meal Planning for busy mums – How to get the most out of it.

The Late Autumn Term is approaching and I bet you have got kids in clubs most days. Life can sure get busy with more kids than hands can’t it? That busy season can make meal times super stressful. Trying to get one kid to Karate, one to ballet and one in an after-school club that’s a lot of juggling. Read on for Meal planning for busy mums – How to get the most out of it!

When you have mouths to feed in between the juggle of after-school activities a meal plan can take the stress off meal times. Back in the day when I started blogging, I would join in with “Meal Plan Mondays” this was fantastic accountability. Sitting down to think about what I would cook for the week ahead. Then our whirlwind Christmas Twins arrived and it was so hard to think that far in advance. Meal planning slipped, as well as a lot of other stuff and we ate adhock meals, turning to junk food, “ping meals” or ready meals as normal people might call them. and take outs. This not only costs so much more, its not healthy way to eat and its super stressful standing in the shop thinking about what to make for dinner each and every day.

Meal Planning

Meal planning now for me is done a month in advance. Now before you take a huge intake of breath, hear me out. We have theme days each week which alleviates the stress that comes along with planning for a whole month. Along with theme days I always hold on to the fact that plans can change. A mentor of mine (Dani Wallace _ The queen bee ) talks about “structures from which to deviate”. If you read any of my other posts you will see that this is a huge thing to get a grip of. Life often has hiccups that knock us off course. I digress – Thats for another post.

Meal planning for busy mums – How to get the most out of it!

Before we dive into planning, Is a month-long plan just too much right now? Just plan for the week, or plan a few meals in advance.

  • First up you need a plan of action. What events are happening in the month/ week? Make sure you have these written on a calendar.
  • Print off a calendar page for the month you are planning for or a 4-weekly planner page. Or if you are planning just for a week you could use a notepad if that’s easier.
  • Set your theme days – We have Pizza Fridays, which can be takeout, shop-bought, or we make our own from scratch. Thursdays are fish nights, this could be salmon & potatoes, take out from the chippy, or good old fish fingers. Mondays are pasta nights ….. you get the gist. Have a look at what your family dinner habits are already and create theme nights around what you already eat.
  • Then its time to fill in the blanks – talk to your family, ask the kids what they would like for dinner, get them to help out on the days they choose the dinner.
  • Don’t over complicate. If you know you have after school activities and kids eating at different times dont plan a sit down meal where you cant really heat up for one. Save the new complicated recipes for when you feel less overwhelmed.
  • One last one – If you are already in a busy season this is not the time to be trialling new foods with the kids, trying to get the to eat all the veggies if they don’t like them. It’s a time to offer veg as a side but not stress over them not eating. (There is a great interview about this with children’s nutritionist over in the group)

As with any structures you put in place keeping consistent is the key. Make meal planning and checking your meal plans weekly and daily part of your habits and don’t be afraid if the current way of doing something isn’t working anymore allow yourself some time to look at why and change to suit the season you are in right now.

I really hope this helps you with what tends to be one of the most stressful areas of motherhood. Getting those kids fed!

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I’m proud of you mama, You have got this you know, but remember you don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it alone. I’m here if you need me.

Nina x

The information in my blog posts are to be used with your own research. I do not guarantee this will change your life with any of the information I give you alone. To do this you have to put in the work too. I mentor with tools that have helped me and my family and share these tools to hopefully offer you the reader or client ways of helping you along your motherhood journey. Sometimes within blog post, there may be links to products with an affiliate nature - I will only link to item that truly fit my with my ethos and my familys

Teapot Of Wellbeing

I am such a tea’a’holic and as such I love a tea analogy for that I won’t be apologising. I mean I love coffee too but I am more into tea! So what is the Teapot of wellbeing? Well, read on to find out.

Tea Ceremony – Japanology and me!

It has become apparent in the last couple of years or so that I have formed a little obsession with Japanese concepts. Wabi-Sabi being one of them, ikigai being another, There are many many cultures and concepts that my life falls into and many activities I had practiced without realising it was related to the Japanese way! One ancient Japanese culture is their tea ceremony. Tea Time is a serious activity in Japan and Taking time out to really mindfully prepare the tea and then savour the tea with friends is thought to represent purity, tranquillity, harmony & respect. It really is an activity to boost wellbeing. So it makes sense to me that as part of my message I use the Teapot of wellbeing to show the importance of self-care.

TeaPot Of wellbeing

Throughout our life, we pour out so much of our energy into different areas of our life. We pour and pour until we have nothing left sometimes.

When I talk about energy I’m talking about moments of stress, anything that takes your emotions, your brainpower, things that shorten your tether!

In effect we pour into others mugs before we pour our own cuppa!

Think of the different areas of life you have!

  • Work
  • Kids
  • Grandparents
  • Neighbours
  • Owing a business

Each of these areas are zappers of our energy, there may be more or less depending on how you spend your days.

But think of these things as mugs that you are pouring into from your teapot of wellbeing.

We pour and pour throughout our days, our lives. If we continue pouring without topping up we end up in burnout, which can manifest in so many different ways! For me, it was a breakdown, which is now why I am so passionate about building this foundational stage of life!!

So have a little think about how you can top up your teapot of wellbeing, not just today but every day!

Nina x

If you want to build your toolbox of well-being more get in contact with me. My foundation self-led course Let’s get selfish is currently being updated but will be available soon. Join the wait list now!

Join Here

Mummy’s Morning Moments

Regardless of if we are at school or at home, my “Mummy’s Morning Moments” are super important, Actually, no, vital to me having any ounce of tolerance to handle chaos bursts throughout the day.

Through my healing and journey through motherhood then out of overwhelm. Through my strive to live a simple life, I read A LOT! I read all manner of books and blogs, I listened to podcasts and watch vlogs and one consistent thing that came up was a morning routine! So My Mummy’s Morning Moments Was created. and I love it!

What Is In My Ideal Morning

Every time I write down what is in my ideal morning its always yoga and a cuppa in the quiet that makes the list. I also like to get outside for some sunshine and fresh air first thing.

Writing morning pages can be so good for my wellbeing too. Writing a little bit of a gratitude diary, some plans for the day, and a little bit of a journal to get thoughts and feelings out from the day before or any dreams that I may have had in the night.

I find it’s usually helpful to create a bit of a mindmap for what I want my Mornings to look like.

This is for before the rest of the house wakes up and obviously I’m not going to be doing all of these each day but writing them down to get an idea of what I like helps.

Infographic with different asspectsw of waht makes a greart morning for nina a spencer

But What About The Kids?

If the kids wake before I manage to sneak outside I will let them watch their tablets, or sit in my bed and watch tv. Sometimes they sneak outside and often that’s ok Now I am in my routine with my mornings I find I can zone in and out much easier.

I work backwards from What time we need to leave the house. The kids start getting up at about 7am. Remember this is not a hard fast schedule If I think they need that bit extra rest I will let them If it is feasible I just think our days are a lot smoother when we have a plan in place.

I find creating a bit of a mind map for what we need and want to get done before the school day really helps to remind us of what needs to be done.

The Rest Of The Day

To get the most out of our day Im going to start blocking our time out too. Once our Morning routines are over next comes schoolwork time.

Our day will hopefully look like this

  • Mums morning time – 1 hr
  • Family Morning Time 1hr
  • 8.30 School Run / Get out and about
  • Dinner – 4/5pm
  • Kids at clubs
  • Outdoor time
  • Bedtime Routine For Kids – 7pm
  • Grown ups down time! – 8.30pm
  • Bed no later than 10pm

This is how I worked out how to get the best out of my morning time and my whole day in fact!

How do your Mornings look? Do you have energy and resilience through the day when stresses hit or do you need to look at your mornings and see how you could improve them?

Nina x

How to have a simple Summer (Finding calm within the CHAOS)

The Summer is upon us (unless you are reading this in March or October or something and in that case take the advice I give and use it to the best you can for the season you are in) and this may fill you with anxiety. Having to entertain the kids 24 hours a day for 6 whole weeks. But life does not have to be like that, I want you to enjoy a summer of memory-making and fulfilment with your kids as much as they do. So here is how to have a simple Summer (finding calm in the CHAOS)

Finding Calm In The CHAOS

As a mum of twins Twice, I have more kids than hands and that often brings a lot of CHAOS! I used to dread those 6 long weeks of summer, How am I going to entertain them for all that time? What are we going to eat?, how will I afford to take them to the places their friends are going? OH god, The snacks. e.t.c.

I’m going to get straight to it as I know how busy you are and reading through a blog post to find the tips you need to find that calm, to find the simple.

How to have a simple Summer

Stay Simple. The bare bones of it is to have a simple summer make it simple! Yep, I know, Why are you making it overcomplicated?, Are the summer holidays really the best time to be adding new meals to your meal plan?

Calendar Cutting. Cut down the things you add into your calendar, You don’t need to fill every single day! Infact, you are going to cause more stress filling each day with activities as just as we get tired so do our kids.

Meal Plan While we don’t want to add new meals that you then have to source ingredients for and learn to cook making a meal plan for the whole summer can cut down the number of decisions we are having to make on a daily basis. We make around 35000 decisions a day! Creating a simple meal plan will cut this!

Could do List In years gone by We have created a summer bucket list but actually what this does is make you feel like you have failed if you don’t tick everything off. instead, write a could-do list that way it is not set in stone that you must do what you have on it. they are just there to give you ideas.

Stop the Scrolling While sometimes it’s nice to catch up with your favourite Instagrammers, its good to check in with friends online, and some of us will use our socials for running our business. But you really don’t need to be on there every moment of every day! Yep, Hard truth time. Stop the scroll, put down your phone and enjoy the summer with your kids. Not only will you cut the temptation of comparisonitis, and you will have more time to get stufff done!

Join Summer CHOAS Control The Challenge I am running my yearly challenge from Wednesday 6th July 2022. It’s a fun but highly practical challenge to help you cut the CHAOS and enjoy summer because those kids grow up fast right and we don’t want to miss any more time!

I cant wait to see you there!

Nina x

Anxiety, major events, what now?

There are some days that you just remember like yesterday.

I mean the news of lockdown pretty much was yesterday  

One is the morning that news broke of Diana’s death – my friend and I had been out the night before and stayed at another friends house overnight. We woke to the news. “Diana Princess of Wales has been killed in a horrific car accident.”

We were a little in shock were we still drunk. – no. Unfortunately, the news was true. Those boys left without a mother. They were only young. Just a little younger than myself.

The other is when the planes hit the twin towers of New York. – The trade centre towers. As usual, my mum and I had been arguing, I’m not sure what this was about but I ended up leaving in a bad mood and went to my aunts. When we arrived my uncle had the tv on with the news that shook the world. A plane has struck one of the towers. And right there in front of our eyes as the report broke another plane struck the other tower!

 

As a mum you worry about the fragility of life.

News like this once I’d had children would fuel  my anxiety and I’d end up worrying for days.

My husband used to travel  the world with his work and when he’s wasn’t  travelling he would be in London. Thankfully now since the pandemic his permanently working from home. We have four children together and I think when you become a mother you worry about the fragility of life More than Ever. 

Thank goodness now though I have a myriad of  tools and strategies in my wellbeing toolbox to get me through tough days.

So what do we do?

What do we do?

Sit in fear, frozen by panic, unable to live in the moment?

Ignore whats happening because its so far away?

No!

We acknowledge what is happening, stand beside our alias, we pray, we keep faith, we remember those lost, we carry on living.

Stay away from the news feeds, stay off social media, or only follow those that bring joy to you. we look for the helpers, because there is always helpers, we answer our children’s questions in an age appropriate way.
We send support where we can.

We allow emotions in but also let them back out.

What we don’t do is sit in fear!

Plan for life after the turmoil, have babies, cuddle our loved ones, play, laugh, cry.

Because Living in fear is not an option.

We take time to remember those affected by such tragic times we remember on anniversaries but we live the rest of the time. We can’t live in fear. We strive to be strong for those left behind. We help each other make a better world.

To those gone. Thankyou for the memories.

To those grieving. Tomorrow is a new day and you will get stronger.

To the rest of us. Smile, help, love, & be grateful.

Nina x