Friday, December 5, 2008

Sabbath-Prep Saturday: I'm becoming more organized day by day!

I'm married to a man who was a bachelor for 49 years before he met me. His life was organized, he was in control of his evenings and weekends, and he NEVER had to look for his toothbrush once he put it in it's holder. He finished his Christmas shopping by September 1st, the trunk of his car was always organized, and he never bounced a check. He scheduled and planned trips to Paris twelve months in advance, bought himself and his friends season tickets to pro basketball games, and trying to figure out which route on which to walk the jack russell terriers was the most complicated decision he would make on any given week night.

Then he married me...with my six kids...they having been raised by a frazzed mom (me) and a dad who spend six multiple-month (one time a year) deployments to the Middle East and endured countless other extended field exercises. We were enlisted Army, which means poor, very poor, and we regularly designed our kids' bedrooms around which storage room or closet in our tiny military housing unit would allow a crib or toddler bed to be stuffed inside it, thus affording us an extra bedroom.

So you see, his life has changed...and my life has changed. I used to save all of my dishes for the entire day and wash them at 11:00 at night after all the kids had gone to bed. Why? I have no idea. I used to let our dogs sit on our couches and leave hair everywhere and it didn't seem to bother me. I guess I got used to the dog scent. I used to let the kids eat in the living room and would simply slap the sofa pillows really hard on the couches to get the crumbs off and then vacuum the rug to get those, plus the rest of the crumbs out.

But I've changed, I really have, and I don't do any of those things anymore. I aspire to become more organized, like my husband and his mother before him and to some extent, I am succeeding. Sure I don't know where my cell phone is at the current moment and I didn't organize time in my day today to take a shower, but I am getting better.

To prove it, I am going to commit to starting something special, something wonderful and something so utterly organized it will blow your socks off. I am going to start Sabbath-Prep Saturday.

As most of you know, we belong to The Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but you may know us as "The Mormons". Yes, we are Mormon, but we really do believe in only having one wife (ask my husband if he would like to take a second wife. I think his words were, "I'd rather lie in my coffin and be buried alive"), and we don't think we'll go to hell if we drink a Coke, most of us just feel like it's really not the healthiest thing to pour down our throats. Something that Mormons do believe in is meetings. We have lots of meetings, meetings for the whole fam, meetings for women, meetings for men, meetings for children, meetings for teengagers, meetings for music people, and more. These meetings take time; to be specific, three hours each Sunday morning. Believe it or not, most of us enjoy our three hour church services and after attending and partaking of The Spirit, we feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle another week in the real world. But guess what? After our three hour meetings, we are a little tired and we are HUNGRY!

So what do you do? Do you come home and slave over the stove for an hour and a half when you're tired, the kids are ready for naps and you're all starving? I think not. What I will do on Sabbath-Prep Saturdays is post a menu plan that can be prepared almost exclusively in advance, so all you have to do is walk in the door, have a couple of kids set the table, maybe pop some freezer rolls in the oven and serve.

I will take most of my recipes from and not all of them will I test in advance. I may be just as surprised as you are by the results, but hopefully in the best of ways. I will also probably put up Mr. Linky soon just in case you would like to create a Sabbath meal prep post and share your ideas. I think this will be fun!

Here goes week one of Sabbath-Prep Saturday:

-Teriyaki Chicken
-White Rice
-Chinese Buffet Green Beans (click HERE for link)
(photo coutesy of
-Asian Salad (click HERE for link)
-Ginger Ice Cream (click HERE for link)

Small appliances you'll need for advanced prep:
-crock pot
-rice maker
-ice cream maker (if you are planning on making your own ice cream. Otherwise, just use store-bought ice cream)

Prep Method:
1. Make sure you have all ingredients on hand. You wouldn't want to make a trip to the store on Sunday and break the sabbath, now would you.
2. Make the Asian salad dressing.
3. If you are making the ice cream, combine the mix and refrigerate.
4. Cut the green beans for the stir-fry, or, if you are using frozen vegetables, place them in the fridge to defrost.

Sunday before church:
1. Place eight chicken breasts in the crock pot. Slice an onion, and place that, along with a half stick of butter and about 2 or 3 cups of teriyaki sauce on top of the chicken. Turn your crockpot on high and cover.
2. Put the rice in the rice maker and set the timer to have it done fifteen minutes after you arrive home from church.

Sunday after church:
1. Pour the ice cream mix in your ice cream maker and start the machine.
2. Start the stir-fry green beans.
3. Assemble the Asian salad.
4. Set the table.
5. Serve your meal.

What do you think? Easy? This is one I've tried before and believe me, it's a great way to celebrate your sabbath! Have a great weekend and thanks for being here today!

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Kathryn said...

This sounds so yummy! What a good idea!

April said...

I'm not sure where I found your blog (Tip Junkie, I'm thinking). Anyhow, I have twins too, they just turned 8 last month and I'm LDS also. I absolutely LOVE having my meals on Sunday done when we get home from church and I almost always use my crockpot. I'll be looking forward to your recipes, and I love reading your blog.

~gail~mooselovingmamabear said...

Amen girl...Sabbath will truly be a more restful it was intended :-)

Tara @ Feels Like Home said...

Great idea! I always love hearing more about your family and your husband. :)

Thanks for the great recipes, too.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. You are so REAL!
What a great idea. I sometimes managed to cook tomorrow's dinner the night before.It's amazing how being a little organised can give you a break when you need it. This is fantastic when you walk in the door at 5.30 and dinner can be on the table at 6.00.
God bless you.

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Great idea!!

Anonymous said...

I like your idea. Even though my family is smaller it seems like we are never ready or Sunday. Good luck on your goals to organize!!

Amanda B. said...

Hmmm- a great idea! :) Smart thinking! The "before" you sounds a little like me now..... :)

Grammy said...

Wish I was organized.

Cambria said...

Jen- this is a wonderful thing! I always lay out the kids clothes the night before and make sure clothes are ironed and stuff, but we usually wind up having leftovers on Sun. With a little planning I am sure I could do a nice meal! I will definetely participate! Wonderful idea!

Connie said...

Saturday prep definitely makes for smoother Sundays! It's always a eat first or nap first? Good for you. Hope it all went as planned :)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea! I am also LDS but inactive :( nothing shakes my belief however, and I enjoy reading your blog very much.

Tara said...

I ♥ it! We've been trying to prep better on Saturdays for the Sunday's as well. With 7 of us it gets you know :O) from clothes, to church bags and activities, lessons, and then of course the meal when we get home. I'm going to be doing the Meal Prep right along with you...thanks for the fab idea! ♥

the inadvertent farmer said...

As a Seventh Day Adventist Christian who keeps the Sabbath from sundown Friday till sundown Sabbath I found this post to be great! I too try to have all housework/cooking etc. done by sundown. On a good week we have showers done and Sabbath clothes laid out for church...on a good week...of course there are weeks I am lucky to find the car keys in order to go to church!

All it takes is a little forthought to keep the Sabbath as the Lord had intended, in communion with Him as opposed to tied to a stove! Kim