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I am attempting to turn over a new leaf as a mother.  Instead of waking up after my children and stumbling into the kitchen to find the leftover mess of spilled milk and cereal, with empty bowls and cups strewn about, I have decided to make a concentrated effort to arise before them and prepare breakfast for them.   I do this for two reasons:  1) I cannot get ahead when I start from behind, and 2) I want to move away from the less cost-effective, low nutritional value of cereal.

My first emotion upon waking is usually frustration or anger: I have been woken by my daughter’s almost daily breakfast table tantrum, or I have a mess of epic proportions to clean up.  (And, yes, I have instructed them on rinsing out their dishes, putting breakfast items away, and cleaning off their spot at the table; their efforts are at best erratic, though.)  I want to wake up early enough to read my bible, check and update my To Do list for the day, journal or pray, and experience a bit of quiet before the craziness of life with five children overtakes me.

The key to this new way of life is, as many of you know, going to bed earlier.  Ah, and therein lies the trouble.  Even though I often doze off during our evening bible story with the children (sitting down will do that to a mom), I get them off to bed and find a second wind of energy that carries me far beyond a reasonable bedtime.  Now, for you night owls, I know that 11:00pm doesn’t sound so late, but for our early-to-rise family, it is about as late as I can make it, and I suffer for it the next day.  So, now I try to get to bed by 9:30, which gives my husband the downtime he needs to get to sleep at a reasonable time, and after looking at Facebook or Pinterest on my phone under the covers (my two-year old still sleeps in our room), I drift off between 10:00 and 10:30.

When I wake up at 5:30 or 6:00, I have all the time I need to feel prepared for the day, and I can welcome my children to the new day as they stumble out of bed;)  It also gives me time to prepare a healthy, fortifying breakfast for them, something cereal rarely does.  At three bowls per child, we fly through several extra large boxes of cereal each week.  No, it’s not Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops (they wish!), although we do buy those for their birthday.  We usually buy Mini Wheats or a blend of Cheerios with Honey Nut Cheerios, or a mix of Rice Chex with Cinnamon Chex.  Still, these healthier alternatives do little to carry the kids through the morning, and they are “starving” by 9:30.

Now I have a breakfast meal plan for the week that requires me to wake up early most mornings.  Here it is:

Monday:  Yogurt with fresh fruit and granola (we like Ancient Grains from Costco) or a home-made muffin

TuesdayWhole Wheat Pancake Recipe made ahead (We substitute 1 1/4 C milk for powder/water, reduce sugar by over half, add cinnamon and blueberries or mini chocolate chips- my husband won’t eat pancakes anywhere else.  We also double this recipe and never have leftovers; it takes a bit of time to prepare them all.)

Wednesday:  Eggs with fresh fruit and toast (more on this in a moment)

Thursday:  Oatmeal (We use Quaker regular or instant oats in boiling water either raisins or chopped apple slices, served with milk and either brown sugar/cinnamon or maple syrup.)

Friday:  Smoothie with muffin or?

SaturdayBaked Oatmeal Recipe (We triple this in one 9×13 and one 8×8 pan, omit the raisins and walnuts and replace with chopped apple, and reduce the brown sugar amount.  It’s a favorite!)

Sunday:  Cold Cereal (we attend 8:00am service, so it’s easy, plus we have a big egg brunch when we get home)

This is my first week implementing the plan.  Unfortunately, I came up with it after my husband went shopping on Saturday, so I am missing a few essential ingredients that have required modifications.  Monday, we had cereal (no yogurt). Tuesday, we had fresh pear muffins (I didn’t have enough whole wheat flour for the pancakes) and fruit.  They still ate cereal, though; I slept in and missed breakfast.  But today!  Today, I made my children Sunny Side Up eggs (that’s how their dad eats them every morning, and they have been dying to try them) a little over-done for safety, fresh honeydew melon from our CSA, and toast with organic strawberry preserves from Costco.   They were in heaven!  Only Autumn, the four-year old, wasn’t too keen on the eggs. Skyler, the two-year old, ate a bunch of melon and her toast, but I held off giving her the eggs this time.

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“I’m full!” “I feel great!” “I like these!”  “Thanks for making us breakfast, Mom!”  No kidding, these are the words that came out of my children’s mouths this morning.  I was on cloud nine!  What a great start to the day.  If that’s not incentive to keep up this plan, I don’t know what is.

What are you serving for breakfast these days?

Just a fun, “Good Morning” song from Mandisa to get you going for the day!