I Like the Nightlife – Things to do the night before

 Start the preparation time with showers or baths for those who can take them the night before. Once my oldest son hit 12, he (like me) has to shower in the mornings. But the little ones can get clean the night before.

 While they are getting PJ’s on have them lay out their clothes for the next morning. I touched on this in our post DON’T- Take it on the Run”  This includes clean underwear, socks, shoes, belts, scarves, hair accessories, anything and everything that will go on their bodies.

Amy has cubbies for her boys to put their outfits in for every day of the week. Now that’s organization!

 Have your children gather up anything that needs to go to school with them and put it in their backpacks, (folders, books, homework, etc.) Have a designated spot (also in my DON’T-Take it on the Run) for these things so it is all together to grab in the morning so there won’t be any last minute searches.

 Prepare any part of their lunches you can the night before. Refrigerate the things that need to stay cold over night, but things like granola bars and chips don’t need to be refrigerated. You can decide if you want to put their whole lunch box in the fridge the night before or just the things that need to be refrigerated. Do what works best for you and your family.

 Have a 15 minute pick up every night. Put the timer on for 15 minutes and have everyone go around the house picking and straightening things up for the next morning. It’s so refreshing not to have clutter and messes to maneuver around in the mornings.

 Go over a “Before Bed List.” I made a list for oldest son of what to do before he hits the pillow. It includes things like brush teeth, get backpack and school things upstairs, check alarm clock, etc. Before lights are out, I have him read over the list to see if he forgot anything.

 I make sure that I have everything I need or will be taking to work with me as well in a designated spot. DON’T-Take it on the Run

 If it’s trash day the next morning make sure you get the trash collected and to the curb so you won’t have to contend with that in the morning.

 Have any breakfast items you can make the night before done. Amy gave us a really good pancake muffins, french toast and breakfast burritos recipes on “The Breakfast Club” you could prepare. I sometimes bake muffins and warm them up the next morning, or prepare the dry ingredients the night before so all I have to do is add the milk, butter etc. in the morning.

 Make sure every one gets to bed on time. Waking up in the morning will be much easier if we all get a good night’s sleep. DON’T-Take it on the Run

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Amy has put her test kitchen in the works again with some snack ideas you can make and have ready the night before as well. YUMMY!

Cheesy Cheese Crackers

I found this recipe here and decided to turn it into square crackers, instead of goldfish.

These will be sent with my kids to school for snacks.

I doubled the recipe but I am posting the recipe for 1 batch.

 1 C flour

4 Tbs cold unsalted butter (I cubed it)

8 ounces grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

2/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp baking powder

1.  In a food processor, put flour, onion powder, salt, pepper, and pulse it all together.

2.  Add the cubed butter and cheese.  Pulse until it resembles coarse meal.

3.  Pulse in 2 Tbs water.  Put in 1 Tbs at a time.  You only want enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.

4.  Take the ball of dough and wrap in plastic wrap.  Put it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or overnight.

5.  Take pastic wrap off and roll out to 1/8 inch thick.  You can lightly flour your counter so the dough won’t stick.

6.  Cut into squares. (I used a pizza cutter)

7.  Using a toothpick, make a small whole in the center of each square.

8.  Put the squares on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet.  Cook on 350° for 20 minutes.

Cool them and store in a airtight container for up to a week.

Whole Wheat Graham Crackers

I found this recipe on everydayfoodstorage.net and I added ground flax seed to my version.  Otherwise, I stuck to her recipe which she has a tutorial video showing how to make them.

Honestly, I thought my kids wouldn’t like these but I decided to try them anyways.  Well…..they love them!!!!!

1/3 cup shortening

3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs sugar (I use brown sugar)

3 Tbs honey, warmed

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbs ground flax seed

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs water

I add in 1-2 tsp cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 300°. Combine shortening, sugar, honey and vanilla.

2.  Blend until smooth. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add dry mixture to the wet ingredients and blend well with electric mixer.

3.  Slowly add water to the mixture while beating. You may have to mix by hand until the mixture forms a large ball of dough.

4.  Divide the dough in thirds and roll one third out on waxed paper till at least 1/16″ thick. It should be very thin. Use a knife to trim into a rectangle slightly smaller than the sheet pan you will be using. Grease the baking pan with a light coating of shortening. Turn the dough over onto the baking sheet and remove the wax paper.

5.  Use a knife to score the dough into smaller crackers. Use a toothpick (or fork) to poke holes over the entire surface of the dough.

6.  Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until the dough begins to turn light brown around the edges. Turn the baking sheet around halfway through baking time for even browning. Cool the crackers before breaking them apart along the scored lines.

7.  Repeat process for remaining dough. If desired, you can sprinkle a cinnamon/sugar mixture over the dough before baking to make cinnamon grahams.

Christy is more organized than I am but I thought of one thing that I do that might be helpful to others.  I struggle with my boys getting up in the morning and not knowing where their shoes or clothes are that they need to put on for school.  My solution was to buy a hanging organizer that takes out all the guess work.  They have no excuses now…..if only that were true. 🙂

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