Fall Morning Magic

I love Kat’s post about being intentional about meeting our own needs so that we can set the right tone in our household.  My biggest challenge lately has been the early morning hours.  I am NOT a morning person.  Life has radically changed for me this September and the mornings have been rough.  When my big kids get up to head to the school bus, my others all wake up as well, so we have a household that is noisy and clammering for breakfast by 6:30 am.

Some days I run around and meet their needs and then fall apart by 10 am, still in my pajamas and unbreakfasted, up to my elbows in dishes, no morning prayers said and never really ready to greet the day.  This is obviously a recipe for burn out.

I want to be present to my older children before they leave for a day outside of the house, gently guide my younger children to start their mornings productively, and keep my own sanity intact.

In a clear case of what my friend D calls “God’s Economy,”  the weather changed and my school kids asked for more filling breakfasts on the same day that I read this post about self care in Pumpkin Spice Latte form.

I ordered an AeroLatte.  Warm foamed milk in my coffee and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar turn this morning necessity into a luxury and make me feel just a little bit better about rising before the sun.  Savoring my coffee with warm milk also slows my caffeine hit as I gradually wake up, so I have been drinking less coffee throughout the day and feeling healthier.

On Sunday afternoon I made healthy, filling pumpkin muffins so that we would have a quick breakfast option for the early risers. I also bought packets of organic oatmeal so that those looking for a hot breakfast can quickly help themselves.  I know that there is a way to make this ourselves, and I will look in to that, but for now quick and easy without too many artificial ingredients was worth paying for.

Most importantly, I went to bed early and I am guarding my sleep, knowing that a woman can not live through many days on five hours of sleep, and if you are up at 6 and count backwards, your bedtime is back to 5th grade standards!

A little bit of advance planning can make our family mornings peaceful times to be together, to get ready to start our day well, even though our day is now starting 2 hours sooner than it used to.  When these mornings go well I really feel like I have gained time.  The children left at home are ready to start school early, and finish early, so we are accomplishing a lot.  They seem to be more disciplined about their school work after they, too, have had a gentle rise and a smart breakfast.

The lattes are scoring points with my dear husband, who has been burning the candle at both ends as he works late and rises early to train for a half marathon.

Kicked Up Pumpkin Spice Muffins

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar

1 tbs baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

shake of ginger

shake of nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup pumpkin (canned, or make your own)

3/4 greek yogurt

1/3 cup fat free milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

Cooking spray for muffin tins or loaf pans

1 tbs sugar, 1 tbs brown sugar, cinnamon mixed together for topping

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine dry ingredients, in a separate bowl combine wet ingredients, then mix together by hand, just until moist.  Spoon in to muffin tins or a mini loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon topping.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes (time will vary based on size of muffins or loaves), should spring back when touched lightly in center.  Remove from pans immediately and cool.

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