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.

  • Kat0427

    Ooh, I love this! I can pretend that it’s Fall (my favorite season) here in TX as I sip my pumpkin-spice latte and eat my pumpkin muffin, forgetting that it is 95 degrees outside :) Seriously, though, this is a great example of giving ourselves a small treat to help us in our quest remain cheerful throughout the day. And I also love the Aero-Latte – my mother gave it to me a few years ago and it works wonders with warm milk! You’ll be amazed at what happens when you add new batteries, too – that milk will be frothed in no time!

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    Pumpkin spice muffins (I make a GF version) are my absolute favorite muffin!!!!! I have a fall birthday, so I top them with icing for birthday cupcakes! You could do a cream cheese version for an extra special treat.

    Regarding rising so early, my parents never made me breakfast before school, and they never got up with me after about 3rd grade. Most mornings they were still in bed or getting dressed and ready themselves. The kids would go down, eat breakfast, and generally do everything they needed to get ready sans parents. This may not be possible in your home if the big kids are waking up the little kids, but I don’t think I could survive our afternoon/evening schedules if I was getting up that early every single day — AND tending to children before 7am. Kuddos to you for making it this far!

    • Mary Alice

      My big kids are very self sufficient in the morning, but they were finding that a bowl of cereal was not getting them through until lunch, so I wanted to prep so easy, hearty breakfasts for them. I do like to be padding around the kitchen, having my coffee and saying good bye to them, and then hopefully get the others to stay in bed long enough that I can enjoy some quiet before the day really gets started. Len is up and running by then, so our household has a different rhythm.

      One main difference is that we don’t have an evening schedule any more. Everyone of my children is in the house and done for the day by 6pm every day of the week!

      If I had a baby who was nursing over night, by the way, I would definitely not be out of bed!

  • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

    I was just talking to my husband about this! I am so NOT a morning person, but our mornings go so much better when I am up and have had a bit of coffee before the kids come thundering down. This is super inspiring and I will also be passing along that recipe to our resident baker (the 6 year old).

  • http://www.gretchenjoanna.blogspot.com GretchenJoanna

    For a while, when I had a houseful of children getting up at different times, I put some 7-grain cereal or something like that on low in a crockpot before going to bed. The first kids to rise in the a.m. knew that they should stir it up before spooning it into a bowl and putting the cover back on. Sometimes I would be awake, but in the shower or helping the youngest ones upstairs. Sometimes I would be asleep and the older ones were serving the littlest.

    I think your latté sounds like an excellent idea!

  • Kat0427

    One more coffee-related tip: I added pumpkin pie spice to the coffee the other day BEFORE brewing, so that it all brewed together, and it was delicious! I often add cinnamon to the finished product, but this adds a different, yummy flavor. Enjoy!

    • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

      I am not familiar with “pumpkin spice.” Is this in the spice section of the grocery store? This sounds delicious and I want to make it in my coffee maker!

      • Kat0427

        Yes, it’s just a blend of different spices and you can find it in the spice aisle!


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