Sunday To-Dos

by Lark

As I’m typing this it’s early Sunday afternoon, and I’m working my way through my usual Sunday to-do list. We try to have a fair amount of downtime on Sundays, but I also try to spend at least a couple hours getting ready for the week. Here are the things I routinely do on Sunday to make the rest of the week easier:

1) Finish up the kid laundry. Adult and household laundry gets done throughout the week, but I try to make sure all kid laundry is done by Sunday afternoon, so they can put it away before bed. Because they wear uniforms, I’ve learned the hard way to start the week with a full supply.

2) Clean out the fridge. After breakfast on Sunday, I do a big clean out of the fridge, getting rid of all the bits and pieces from the previous week, and adding to the grocery list for things we’re running low on.

3) Meal plan and grocery shop. These days I sketch out a meal plan on Sunday morning, and it goes Sunday through Friday. Then I do a big grocery run. As soon as I get home, I season and prep any meat that will be used over the next few days, and have it ready to go in the fridge.

4) Prep smoothie bags. Our kids love smoothies in the mornings, so I make a week’s worth of pint sized ziplock freezer bags containing sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and spinach. Those go in the freezer, and all I have to in the morning is grab a bag, dump it in the blender, and add yogurt and almond milk.

5) Long run. I try on Sundays to do my longest run of the week. (I use the term ‘long’ loosely – anywhere from 4 to 6 miles). This is the one time each week I run on my own (weekday runs are with a couple of girlfriends), so I use the time to think about the week ahead and generally get my head in the game for the upcoming week. It’s really a nice way to get that ever-elusive thinking time.

6) Work e-mails. Fridays are the one days my kids never have sports (at least for now, this could change for the winter season), so I actually like to work late on Fridays and make sure the week is completely put to bed before checking out. However, if something prevents that, then I do spend about an hour on Sunday cleaning out my inbox, attending to any small tasks, and preparing the Monday morning to do list. Then when I get to my desk on Monday, I’m ready to hit the ground running.

Do you guys have regular things you do on the weekends in preparation for the upcoming week?


126 thoughts on “Sunday To-Dos

  1. Um, sleep in, watch the Sunday news shows, go to church, snack, nap, maybe fix dinner, maybe just have appetizers.

  2. We don’t have nearly this level of consistency or discipline. The main thing is getting laundry done, but now my kids know how to sort their own into the common piles, I process it through, and then I can dump out the pile for them to retrieve and hang or fold the finished product. The 4 yo needs some help, but also desperately wants to be self-sufficient.

    I may go grocery shopping. If I feel like cooking for the week, I’ll do that. Otherwise we’ll wing it.

    I also think we tend to spend more weekends away than the average family. Driving back on Sunday afternoon, we’ll likely pick up Wawa subs for dinner, and I can bring the other half to work the next day. This upcoming weekend we’ll be away for a family wedding.

  3. I’m also big on getting organized for the week. I sleep in, cook a big breakfast, and get in some exercise. I try to cook a big meal on Sundays and freeze leftovers in individual servings, for people who aren’t home for meals during the week. I make sure I know what everyone else’s calendar looks like for the week so I can plan meals around schedules. My husband does all the laundry, but on Sundays I do my sweaters or anything I like handwashed. If I need anything at Costco or the mall, or the library, I try to get that done as well.

    I find Sunday nights put most of my family in a bad mood, so I try to encourage everyone to have everything done early so we can watch a movie together or something. Nowadays, it only works about 10% of the time. Life was easier when I could just control everyone.

  4. Chores: I’ve been making myself clean out the fridge every time I go grocery shopping recently. That way it’s just a quick, simple thing. Laundry before every schoolweek–yes! With just two of us, there is no separate “kid laundry” and “adult laundry”. I tell myself I’m going to make salads in jars every weekend, but that has yet to happen.

    Relaxing: I try to let my kid have one day of as much nothing as he wants (which is a lot now that he’s a teen)

    “Expeditions”: I try to get us out to something new/fun/interesting every weekend. Lately this has meant the waterpark and dinner at a Disney resort, but we went to my parents’ last weekend and have tickets to a traveling B’way show and a lecturer later on this month. So we’ll get some variety, but plan to hit our favorite waterpark as much as possible until it closes for good Dec 31.

  5. I like Sundays during football season because they are more relaxed–DH and DS watch at least one game. I cannot sit through an entire football game, so I use the time to read or catch up on a show. Other than that, I run errands, cook some dishes for the upcoming week, go grocery shopping, do laundry, and do a bit of work.

  6. We have a couple of hours free on Sunday mornings due to religious school. It is the one day of the week that we try to go to the gym, or go for a run together. I usually manage some laundry or grocery shopping too.

    If we are home on a Sunday afternoon, I try to pick up as much stuff as possible that seems to accumulate near the door. This usually includes stuff from school, jackets and sports equipment.
    I don’t want to have to deal with any of this on a Sunday night or Monday morning.

    I used to dread Sundays when I was working full time. It is a lot better now, but homework and projects are starting to hijack Sunday afternoons with each passing year in school.

  7. Lauren, please remind me of how old your kiddo is. Around here, the Sunday night mood that MBT mentions makes it very difficult to get homework or anything else done Sunday afternoon/evening. Is yours aware of the looming schoolweek, and how do you get past that?

  8. Sept – Feb, professional football all day. Before DD moved into the basement, I did my ironing and made sure all the laundry for the week was done. I now do the laundry while she is out at work during the week, and I only get the one Pats game on the giant TV, which was too big to relocate. The ironing pile is getting higher and higher. It’s a good thing I have a lot of tablecloths and I have, hangs head in shame, stopped ironing the napkins. Shirts I can send out if necessary.

    You might say I live in that what is week end phase of life, but my weekdays are pretty full and routine gives structure to the retired life. Sometimes I do elaborate cooking. There is less external structure outside of football season, but I have just discovered that the multiplex has closed captioning at the seats upon request, so we can consider Sun aft movies again.

  9. And on Sunday nights, I used to have a glass of wine and watch The Good Wife. I’m sad that show has ended.

  10. Most of my regular errands are squeezed in during the week, so Sunday tends to be fairly relaxed. This year soccer games are sometimes scheduled for Sunday afternoons which is a change for me. When my parents spend part of the year here, I try to visit them every week. As my kids have gotten older their activity timings have shifted to later in the day. I like that better. Getting out of the house early on Saturday mornings was not pleasant.

  11. S & M, 7th. There used to be little to no homework assigned on Fridays in 5th and 6th grades, but there are more projects now. Plus reading and math.

  12. Sunday routine: I’m always the first one up. I put away all the dried dishes etc from Saturday night, start coffee, get the paper, set the table and set up for breakfast prep if we’ve talked about what we’re doing. If breakfast includes bacon, hash etc I’ll start those cooking slowly.Once whoever else is home comes downstairs we’ll cook breakfast. If it’s eggs, we each cook our own since we all like them done differently. If it’s pancakes/waffles/French toast usually one cooks while the other(s) read paper, watch sportscenter, etc. Unless there’s a deadline, Sunday breakfast tends to be leisurely and includes going over the week’s school/work (travel)/social (evening)/sports schedules, organizing a short shopping list which almost always includes what I’m grilling for Sunday dinner and what few (hopefully) other things we need to see us thru until DW does the weekly big shopping mid-week.

    With only 1 fully self-sufficient kid around (he still needs some reminding that time is <infinite and there are deadlines (college apps, school assignments) that actually have to be met), there is actually a lot of time to get stuff done on Sundays so in addition to the leisurely b'fast and short grocery run:

    – some yardwork. Since we usually keep up with it every week, what needs to be done takes <1 hour unless its raking season (coming soon, but we'll be away the next two weekends), or the day we choose to put in all our annuals.
    – laundry, and sheets specifically. DW likes them changed weekly.
    – Uncharacteristic compared with the former me, I try to declutter/organize/pitch some stuff we'll never use for about 30 mins. Often I just don't motivate, but sometimes it stretches longer if I get rolling.
    – reading: anything. Books, magazines, the paper
    – doing the crossword in pen (often an evening event, see below)

    My goal is for everything that needs to be done by Monday morning to be done by the time we start cooking dinner on Sunday. This happens about 1 time per quarter. But when it does, everyone is more relaxed and less depressed about the coming Monday.

  13. I have a winter soccer league invite for kid sitting in my mailbox. For years now, it has been spring and fall soccer with the winter/holiday season being off. I really don’t to put a new item on the schedule.

  14. I usually do a lot of grading and class preparation. I usually do some amount of grocery shopping on Sunday too. I used to use Peapod but their delivieries got so unreliable that they were costing me time.
    If I have any extra time, I try to do a big chore. This weekend, I swapped out the summer clothes and got down the winter boxes. I got about half done on Sunday, but the rest of the task -piles of unsorted clothes in the boys room – still awaits me

  15. Lauren, now that the boys are 9th and 11th, much of their weekends are consumed with homework. They also had cross country meets on Saturdays, which made Sundays even more desperate, but those have ended now. My 5th grader also usually has some good bit of homework to get done. Sunday nights are usually a scramble so I have learned to not try to cook anything large or try to do anything “fun”

  16. I think middle school is the end of homework free weekends. I know that she will have a lot more work once she enters HS.

    The Good Fight is the name of the spin off and it starts in Feb. I’m missing a lot of my Sunday night shows. Good Wife, Downton, Mad Men, Homeland and The Affair.

    I like Madam Secretary, but I’m looking forward to the return of The Affair, and Homeland.

  17. Theoretical Sunday (during school year):

    Up at 7. Turn on DVR’d home shows as background noise, make pancakes for AM, store rest for week’s breakfasts. DH takes kids to Hebrew School @8:30.

    Fun Sunday: get dressed, meet DH at golf course. Either play 9 and have lunch, or play as many as we can until @12:30, go get kids, take them to lunch.

    More productive Sunday: make menu/grocery list for week while watching more DVR’d crap as background noise, preferably wearing bathrobe in recliner. Leave around 11, hit Wegman’s, get kids from Hebrew school. Either go home (if Ravens are 1PM game) or take kids to lunch (if Ravens play later).

    Hang out at home. Me: putter in kitchen, watching football unless the game is really bad (in which case DVR reappears); make Sunday dinner and prep stuff for week; return to family room for more football. DH: watch football in family room, putter in shop or on chores. DD: putter on computer (Khan academy or schoolwork). DS: putter on PS4. Nice weather/bad football may result in walks, errands, movies, etc.

    @4PM: Everyone suddenly realizes they have dirty clothes to wash, and bags of laundry stack up in the laundry room waiting for a free washer.

    Dinnertime: sit down together, usually at halftime of some game. My mom frequently comes over (lately has been the only time she is in town). Open bottle of wine, leisurely chat.

    After dinner: DD finishes homework, if necessary; all crash and watch TV, read books, and/or play games (usually at least 2 at same time); this is when I usually catch up on online newspapers with Sunday Night Football as background.

  18. When I worked full-time, Sunday was laundry day for me (each does their own around here), menu planning and house cleaning, while at least my partner, if not partner and child, did the grocery store run. Plus, some volunteer work on the computer (several things I do are paperwork or looking for new ideas heavy). I’d cook dinner after he/they returned from the grocery store. At dinner, we’d go over any deviations in the schedule – adults and kids – to make sure everyone got every where they needed to go timely. Goal was to be done so I could watch Sunday TV from 7-9. At 9, the true prep for tomorrow – checked work email, laid out clothes, and other things needed for the next day,

    Now…partner retired, I work part-time mainly from home and two girls in HS…Sunday is more crazy than before. I am usually up first and get a load of laundry done before anyone else is up. While I technically can do laundry anytime, I still like to start the week with 90 percent clean. In the morning I am usually “reminding” everyone that it is Sunday and Monday will be here in less than 24 hours. About noon, the school missives come out and I peruse them to figure out what now is going to throw a wrench in the schedule. DD#2 now has a flute lesson, but the teacher insists on scheduling the time weekly (driving us nuts as it is hard to plan), sometime in the afternoon. Every other Sunday at 6 she has Scouts. DD#1 usually spends Sunday on homework.

    Lately though, it seems that we have had other activities on Sundays. Usually more “fun”, but last Sunday we volunteered at the school open house for 2 hours and then went to a friend’s house for dinner.

  19. this is off topic, but Goodreads Choice Awards started today. You can write-in any one you want. If you have a goodreads account, you may want to write-in a certain author. Also, if you have read this certain author’s books , be sure to leave reviews on amazon and/or goodreads!

  20. Now that I am retired Sunday is only different from the rest of the week because my husband is

    My husband and I usually take a ride or go to Philly for an event or museum on either Saturday or Sunday. There are a lot of scenic byways near us and a lot of nice small towns with different shops and things to do.

    My children are in and out of the house on weekends, may eat dinner with us or late breakfast. My husband and son might go shooting clays and I will go with them and then eat at our favorite bbq place in Pa.

    I do not miss the days of working and trying to do everything on the weekends and managing my kids schedules for the following week and making sure homework and projects are done.

    We really need a 4 day on and 3 days off work schedule so people can have some down time.
    Guess that is not going to happen,

    Good luck to all of you still fighting the good fight!

  21. Fred, turned it in! LOL, they wrote back and said my background was very impressive and they would definitely be in touch so we’ll see, they only are looking for one person and they are doing interviews and everything. some boards just want a warm body

  22. “I do not miss the days of working and trying to do everything on the weekends and managing my kids schedules for the following week and making sure homework and projects are done.”

    I’ll echo Old Mom’s comments.

    Also, I was eating lunch at a bar this past weekend while a couple of college football games were playing on their screens. The games looked like loads of fun, with exuberant fans showing their enthusiasm. Anyway, it made me feel a little jealous of people who love watching sports and follow their favorite teams, and who look forward to spending their weekends watching football.

  23. We try to do the chores on Saturdays so Sundays are free to watch football and relax. In the spring, we had baseball games on Saturdays and Sundays, and in the fall we had Softball on Saturdays, so that took up a big chunk of time that we had to plan around. And soon we’re going to start skiing so that takes up a lot of Saturdays (and occasionally Sundays).

  24. On the weekend we

    1. go to the park for DS to run around
    2. go to the library
    3. catch up on house chores (laundry, etc)
    4. watch Walking Dead
    5. go to the grocery and run errands that we can

  25. LfB/Coc – DH watches a ton of sports and many weekends he’ll catch up on work with the TV on in the background. I prefer to walk round the neighborhood and be outdoors.

  26. Sunday is my laundry day too. I like to start the week with empty baskets and drawers/closets full if possible. I will usually make a big dinner with plenty of leftovers & do some meal prep for the week if necessary. Saturday AM is my usual shopping day while DH takes DS to the sport/activity of the season though.

    We try to keep Sunday relatively unscheduled, which hasn’t been a problem at this stage of kid activities/etc. Sometimes there is a kid birthday party or other kid thing, but no sports/lessons/regular activities. To Milo’s point, we really don’t spend a ton of weekends away – maybe 5-6/year.

    Sundays we will do something low key as a family if we feel like it – go hiking, go to a museum, etc. Sometimes we just go to the park to practice/play sports, maybe a movie in bad weather, maybe just bum around. DS & I go to most of the home baseball games during the season while DH keeps the laundry going & gets dinner ready. We stopped watching football regularly last year, but we do watch baseball & hockey pretty religiously. We don’t attend any religious institution, so that’s not a part of the routine.

  27. I only watch college football, and only a couple of teams. So Saturdays are football days at our house.

  28. Our weekend life maintenance is usually the mountain of laundry, a Costco or Sam’s run plus whatever other stops are needed that week (regular grocery, drug store, pet store, specialty grocery, hardware store), house cleaning, pet cage cleaning or weed-whacking when needed. I usually try to cook the sort of thing that doesn’t work for weeknight dinners.

  29. We are out the door for church (wearing “church clothes”) at 9 and return around 1 PM, after church and Sunday School. We often have seasonal yard work and I usually work on organizing/decluttering as well as make dinner and supervise piano/homework in the afternoon. Boys and/or Mr WCE watch some TV; Baby WCE takes a nap on the way home from church. Sometimes I fold the laundry I’m behind on folding. When Mr WCE is gone, we often go to a park or do another activity, since I like to spend time at home less than he does.

    We are gone moderately often in the summer and I hope to do more biking or swimming as a family outside of summer but so far, we seldom do those activities, partly because Mr WCE doesn’t like to plan and so always has another higher priority plan of his own. Maybe it will work out more when he’s traveling less.

  30. Usual Sunday
    8am: church
    9am: breakfast/play/TV/meal plan for the week/read
    12ish: lunch/Baby Rhode naps
    2ish: after Baby Rhode gets up, family outing to grocery store
    After that: organize/clean/declutter
    5p: Church if we missed 8am
    6p: dinner
    Baby Rhode to bed, adults clean/sort for next week/work a bit/watch TV/read
    attempt to get to bed by 10pm. Fail most Sundays.

    If we are traveling our schedule is very different. Or if it’s nice out, we’ll plan an outing like the zoo or park to break up the routine. That’s usually in the morning when all parties are much more agreeable humans. After lunch is a coin toss re: agree-ability.

  31. I like to have everything done and ready for the upcoming week before Sunday night as well, so I do my meal planning and grocery shopping on Friday. We wash and dry clothes throughout the week and then fold it all on Sundays while watching football. I literally cannot fold laundry unless I am also watching tv! DH and DS like to sleep in, so I go to the church of yoga. DS likes to get all his homework done Friday night, but he’s just 5th grade, so doesn’t sound like that will last based on others’ comments. I sometimes cook something big and elaborate Sunday nights, but more often I put something in the slow cooker because I really want the evening to be chill.

  32. I do my meal planning and grocery shopping on Friday.

    I have to say, that is about the last thing I want to do after I get home Friday night.

  33. I work part-time, so have more flexibility, but I do not like to go the store on the weekend. The weekend can start after I finish shopping!

  34. Sunday afternoons have turned out to be good shopping days for us. Though that may change when football season is over – we time our trips for after the Pats games start. Most people are home and eating already.

    I try to stuff as much as I can during the week so I can use the weekend to relax or have family time. So all errands and work-related things are tackled after Baby Rhode goes to sleep. I’ll stay home while DH runs out or vice versa. If Baby Rhode is behaving, my mom usually offers to watch TV at home to have a body in the house so DH and I can go out together. I’m lucky, Baby Rhode sleeps very well at night, so whomever stays home gets a night in to themselves.

  35. ITA with Grocery Bags — when I was telecommuting and/or working part-time, I loved doing grocery runs during the weekday, which kept the weekends more open for fun stuff. Now it is much harder to run the routine, because there are a variety of Sunday mornings I just don’t feel like it.

    I will say I love Sunday mornings for the luxurious feel of having the kids gone from 9-1. There are days when my mom does Hebrew School pickup that I have stayed in my bathrobe until 2, just because, hello, I can stay in my bathrobe until 2! And even when I am doing errands, it’s blessed just-me time — this past Sunday, I went to the running shoe store to get my Crossfit shoes, then I went to the mall to go clothes shopping. All by myself. Awesome. Plus, you know, there’s no guilt, because I already got up at 7 and cooked special breakfast for everyone. :-)

  36. I go grocery shopping once on the weekend and once during the week to pick up extra bread, fruit, and milk. I try and go early on the weekends (before 9am) so that I can avoid the rush.

  37. “I will say I love Sunday mornings for the luxurious feel of having the kids gone from 9-1. There are days when my mom does Hebrew School pickup ”

    Only tangentially related, but we’re still in flux about whether we’re going to be Methodist or Catholic. Scarlett is going to kill me for this, but a big factor has come down to logistics. With Protestant church, kids can go to Sunday School for an hour, and it’s kind of optional whether they actually go to any service. The problem is that the churches seem to run kids’ Sunday School during the Contemporary Service, which I absolutely loathe, and I’ve put up with it for a few years, but I just can’t take the awful music any more.

    The Catholic Church expects kids to go to Mass and then go to CCD on a weeknight. Understandable, but it would add to our midweek chauffeuring, having less time for playing, homework, etc. However, we tried a Catholic Church this past week that is very close to our neighborhood, so that complaint becomes almost moot. And on Sunday morning, instead of driving about 25 minutes each way, so adding almost an hour to the whole process, we can be out the door, in the pew, and back home in just under an hour. It was like a whole new paradigm two days ago.

    I’ll still have to deal with kids complaining about CCD, if we go this route, and they’re behind the eight-ball on First Communion, but I’m going to have to let them know that kids in Hebrew School apparently have it far, far worse. So thanks, LfB.

  38. Grocery Shopping – is becoming a complete PITA. We have a number of stores within a 5 mile radius, including two Whole Foods, a Natural Grocer, a small Trader Joes, and 4 of our local chain grocery stores. Then slightly further away is a store about half way between a Whole Foods and our local chain. The problem is that you can’t really get your whole list at any one place. One of the local chain stores has the best fish department (other than Whole Foods, but at a price I can afford), while another has the freshest produce, but smaller selection. The half way between store has the best meat market, the widest variety of produce (slightly bigger store than the Whole Foods) and the best deli counter with an olive bar (my downfall).

    In the past, we chose one location of the local chain, but none of the ones listed because while it had none of the best, it also had none of the worst. However, it has recently gone downhill in both its fish and produce areas. So, I find myself at two to three stores each week now, even though I am not buying that much in total.

  39. We have a tradition of pizza night every Sunday night in front of the TV. It started ages ago when the older boys were little and created the expectation that all homework and pet care chores would be done before dinner. It has worked like a charm and (except for the frequent weekends we are out of town,) has been adhered to now for about 20 years. Our grown boys often text DS3 to find out what is on view during pizza night. Nowadays it is Agents of Shield.

  40. Milo – A lot of the Catholic Churches here do CCD on Sunday late afternoon/evening (4-6 time frame) and usually offer a weeknight (usually Wednesday) as well. Without some options, I don’t know how you accomodate a sports season with weekday practices/games.

  41. Mafalda – I’ll have to check that out. My biased opinion is that the service (Mass) is just so much better. Anecdotally, I feel like the Protestant services have gotten dumbed down chasing the Joel Osteen crowd.

  42. @Austinmom – I am on a 3 stores/week rotation as well. Whole Foods as the main store, then the local regular chain for bread /PB and other products where I can’t abide the “natural” version, and Costco. It’s kind of a PITA, but I’ve got it down to a routine now. Sometimes I can skip one of the three, but rarely can I get by with only 1 store.

    @Milo – as a kid, I was required by my mom to attend a church service every week. My dad was a lapsed Catholic turned atheist and my mom Methodist. I often begged my dad to take me to Mass to fulfill the requirement because they had a Saturday night option (leaving me to sleep in on Sunday & putter around) and because it was 30 minutes start to finish vs. over an hour for my mom’s church.

  43. On grocery shopping, I just tried out the Walmart grocery pick up near me. It’s free, you enter your order and pay online, them show up at the time you pre-selected and they bring your order to your car. I’m picky about my produce, so made a separate run for that, but that only took about 10 minutes. For staples, I would use it again. The date on the milk was not what I would have picked, but other than that, it saved me about 45 minutes and I picked it up on the way home from work.

  44. “The games looked like loads of fun, with exuberant fans showing their enthusiasm.”

    We’re on our 8th (?) year of doing the Game Day football thing, and it IS fun, even though I am not a football fan and still don’t really know what is going on when we watch it live. Sometimes we get extra special seats (with real backs!!!) from donors or others who aren’t using them, and then it’s even better. The excitement of those who are first-time spectators is contagious. These people are *so* thrilled by the whole spectacle and the overwhelming friendliness of the university community, which kind of makes up for the really mediocre performances on the field.

  45. @MBT – That’s why I’m not thrilled about Instacart & services like that. I’ll do it in a pinch like when we get home from vacation with no turnaround time before going back to a full week of work/school, but I like to pick through my own produce and bread/milk/etc. Sometime with delivery you get milk that is a day from expiring and weirdly shaped chicken breasts that are all different sizes or whatever. And forget it with bananas – you gotta buy bananas whenever you see good ones for sale because so often they are all green or all brown.

  46. Ivy, we did Saturday 5:00 mass every week my whole life, in the same seats, followed by dinner out. An added bonus was that in those pre-cell phone days, my siblings and I could make Saturday night plans with friends on the way out. Sleeping in on Sunday was definitely a bonus. When I visit my parents now, some of the old-timers will stop by my seat to tell me to come visit more often. It’s very sweet.

  47. “Scarlett is going to kill me for this, but a big factor has come down to logistics.”

    I won’t kill you (that would be a sin) but I will say that if you’re basing your decision on logistics you should reconsider why you are bothering with either church. Your kids will figure out soon enough that logistics rather than conviction is driving your church-going practices, and when they are old enough to push back, they’ll do so. Getting up and out of the house and dressed in real clothes and sitting still for services is never going to be as appealing as lounging about in pajamas reading comic books, and with multiple kids and busy working parents, the logistical conflicts will emerge even if you pick the most convenient, user-friendly church experience.

    Far be it from me to discourage a fellow Totebagger from attending a Catholic Church, but if you don’t really believe what the Church teaches (including the part about weekly Mass attendance), then you probably won’t stick with it when the going gets tougher. IMO, that approach can leave children worse off than if you hadn’t really bothered at all, because they can become cynical about religion in general and the Church in particular.

  48. You all spend a lot more time on grocery shopping. One store and done for me. I go once a week and go to the same store except alternate with Trader Joe’s about every 4-6 weeks. My H, otoh, likes to go on weekends to two or more stores for what I call fun shopping — looking for the perfect steak on sale and yummy ice cream flavors.

  49. I hear what you’re saying Scarlet. But it’s complicated when you marry someone who grew up in a different denomination, and we never wanted to attend separate churches. I’ve been surprised by this whole process that DW has been so interested in investigating Catholicism. She was open to it when we were engaged, but had a difficult time with transubstantiation. Even though I see it as something that is mostly symbolic, she felt that if she is professing to believe in it, then she should actually believe in it.

    And now she is the one willing to go through RCIA; I don’t have to do a thing.

  50. Milo, it’s a shame you missed out on all the late Friday night discussions in the chem e lab between the devout Catholic chem e’s waiting for their simulations to run and the rest of us

  51. Lapsed Catholic here…Scarlett has a point. After a certain age it became clear my mom was pushing me through the motions because she converted to marry my dad. Once I hit high school, her attitude was “your choice now”. I did go to Catholic HS and became more cynical about religion there. I had a priest who, especially in hindsight, likely shouldn’t have been teaching children. His behavior really creeped me out and his explanation of how the Church viewed women turned me off even more.

    Sending my kids to Lutheran and Catholic schools, I can’t tell you how many people have just told me that since I don’t have a “home” church I should just join the one attached to the school to qualify for the discount. I have never done that as I feel it is dishonest way to get a discount.

  52. Hmmm. My father was raised Catholic and my mother Baptist. We went to the Methodist church growing up…conveniently located down the street. None of us go to church now.

  53. “but I’m going to have to let them know that kids in Hebrew School apparently have it far, far worse. So thanks, LfB.”

    Welcome. It was news to me, too. :-) And FWIW, our choice was also logistically driven — two finalists both about 25-30 mins away (not counting rush hour), but one had Hebrew School 9-1 Sunday and the other had two separate 2-hr sessions on Sunday and Wed. nights. Yeah, thanks, no-brainer.

    You will also not be surprised that I differ from Scarlett on church choice. :-) I think you need to find a place that feels like a “home,” because perfect agreement with the doctrine isn’t going to get you out of bed on a cold rainy Sunday morning if you don’t feel comfortable at services. I see doctrine as more of an initial hurdle: if there is something in there you really can’t see yourself believing and abiding by, then cross that denomination off the list; but that could still leave you with several options — and at that point, the community and the feel matters more (the things that make you *want* to go). I know exactly what you mean about the popular church bit — my original church was very “high church” Episcopalian (but politically very liberal), and after I moved away, I never found a place that seemed to “fit” as well and make me feel comfortable when I attended services. Strangely enough, I feel more at home in our current synagogue — I really miss the hymns and melodies, but the people and the overall feel of the place makes me comfortable, and they wrestle openly with social/political topics in the same way my original church did. I have not converted and will not (there’s that fundamental hurdle I can’t get past) — but my relative comfort level at the synagogue made it much easier for me to say, ok, we’ll raise the kids in his religion instead of mine.

    Of course, I am also one of those flaky liberal weirdos who believes that there are a variety of equally valid paths to find God, so YMMV. :-)

  54. I’m going to have to let them know that kids in Hebrew School apparently have it far, far worse

    A Bar Mitzvah’s pays way better than a First Communion.

  55. “A Bar Mitzvah’s pays way better than a First Communion.”

    Not necessarily if one considers the effort per dollar received. And not every bar mitzvah is over the top like the NYC stereotype. My brother’s kid is doing it in Israel next year with her temple group — the cost of the trip is sufficiently high that she’s probably not going to be raking in the money gifts.

  56. “I think you need to find a place that feels like a “home,” because perfect agreement with the doctrine isn’t going to get you out of bed on a cold rainy Sunday morning if you don’t feel comfortable at services.”

    Perhaps, but because churches are run and staffed by human beings, there is no guarantee that the church that feels like “home” today will feel that way when the pastor or youth director or choir leader moves on. If you relocate, you have to start looking for another church that feels like “home.” And when your kids get older, the church you loved because it was welcoming to little children may start to annoy you. What gets me to church most every day is the conviction that doing so is helping me get to heaven. If the church feels like “home,” that’s a bonus.

  57. “Even though I see it as something that is mostly symbolic, she felt that if she is professing to believe in it, then she should actually believe in it.

    Amen to that. Good for her. I became a lapsed Catholic when I got to the point of not believing what I was saying every week.

    And transubstantiation is not mostly symbolic, but I’ll leave it at that. If your DW goes through RCIA, she can explain it to you. :)

  58. Milo/-it might be under an hour now, but wait for the next priest. Our current guy runs an hour and 15 minutes for Mass on his good days–sometimes it’s an hour and a half. Making the whole enterprise two hours. And today is a Holy Day, and he’s scheduled the only Mass for 6 pm–meaning dinner will be at 7:30.

  59. Even if you don’t have the over the top BM, it is time consuming and expensive.

    I’m sick of my temple, their fees and extra lessons. In the next six months, DD is now scheduled for 15 sessions of tutoring for her Torah portion. Another 8 sessions with the Cantor, six with the Rabbi. Two more meetings for all of us. Rehearsals. This is in addition to 2 hours on Sunday mornings, 2 hours on Wed nights and a mitzvah project.

    If they wonder why people drop out for private tutors/Chabad… This is it.

    Also, Some people don’t let their kids keep all of their gift money. Many kids will donate a portion, but some of my friends are keeping some for their expenses.

    I am so sick of the whole thing, and I just can’t wait until it is over.

  60. What gets me to church most every day is the conviction that doing so is helping me get to heaven.

    I thought that was through good works? Only Protestants believe you can get to heaven on faith alone.

  61. Not necessarily if one considers the effort per dollar received

    Nah, a Conformation haul is 3 figures while a Bat Mitzvah is (low) 5 figures.

  62. DD, where do usually ski?

    OT, some of my fondest Sunday memories are of waking up at 4:30 or so, driving to a ski area, skiing until the lifts close, then making the 3 to 4 hour drive back home, with a stop for dinner along the way.

  63. Rhett,
    It’s much too complicated for a two-sentence response, but the Catholic Church does NOT teach that we can merit heaven through “good works.” It’s all the grace of God, but, “faith without works is dead.”

  64. I have noticed that people with older kids mostly attend Mass on Saturday evenings. All those with younger kids come on Sunday mornings. Not sure if homework is the reason for switch from Sunday to Saturday.
    Growing up we went to church for the 6 am service every Sunday. My parents didn’t like to go later because it got hot and there wasn’t any air conditioning. When Saturday evening services started we went on Saturday.
    My cousin who spent vacation time with us would sleep in his church clothes. We would wake him just in time to freshen up and off we went. I must tell y’all my church stories some other time.
    The other thing I noticed is that my local grocery store is very crowded on Sunday evening. On going to a variety of stores we do that – ethnic grocery stores, local grocery store, Whole Foods now and again, wholesale club….

  65. Also, Some people don’t let their kids keep all of their gift money. Many kids will donate a portion, but some of my friends are keeping some for their expenses.

    I’m appalled! That’s even worse than taking their Halloween candy.

  66. Two things… Most kids don’t get as much as you think they might receive as gifts. Second, lot many parents can’t afford the party.

    I personally think the donation part is important. It’s really nice if the child is already involved with the charity, or has some places that are important to them.

  67. “I have noticed that people with older kids mostly attend Mass on Saturday evenings. All those with younger kids come on Sunday mornings. ”

    My guess is that for many of them, it’s because it’s easier for older kids to stay up late (perhaps they go out with friends afterwards on Saturday nights) than wake up early.

  68. Most kids don’t seem to keep all their gift money. The invitations I’ve seen typically mention that a portion of the kid’s money will go to xyz charity.

    I have friends whose kids did BOTH Catholic religious instruction (communion and confirmation) and Hebrew school bat/bar mitzvah instruction. Dad’s Jewish and mom’s Catholic.

  69. Milo – Episcopalianism is way more tolerant/liberal than Catholicism (birth control, women priests, LGBT friendly), plus with symbolic transubstantiation, if I am remembering my confirmation class right. AND better music. I recommend it. :)

    We don’t have a specific Sunday routine, and definitely not so specific as the post! I do try to finish up the laundry and make a grocery list if we don’t have one, but not necessarily going to the store. We try not to go to Costco after noon on Sundays except during Patriots games (then it is not as crowded!). This week we were away visiting 2 different distant relatives and didn’t get back until late, so I didn’t get anything done except in the morning before we went.

  70. I hate grocery shopping on Sundays. I try really hard not to do it, though somehow I’m always out of something needed for Monday morning. I’m so out of dinner ideas for this week that I feel like crawling under the covers and never emerging.

  71. What are your dietary constraints, Rocky? We can play challenge-the-Totebag-cooks for dinner suggestions.

  72. Rhett, I didn’t know kids got confirmation money. Truly, I didn’t. My son was confirmed last May, and though I had a nice party for him at the local sports bar/restaurant, nobody gave him any gifts.

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t get any gifts for my confirmation either.

  73. Oh, for your Sunday routines….

    Approximately 5:03 AM: Child 3 wakes and decides it IS daytime, despite the absence of light. Lively debate on the meaning of daytime wakes other two children, and one of us decamps downstairs to let them watch people unwrap toys on YouTube.

    6:17 AM: Bagel run or pancakes. Cereal if the wake up call started with the number 4. Start laundry and shop online in bid to stay awake.

    7:30 AM: Go to mass (mom and kids only) if I feel like tormenting my fellow parishioners, and if no one is contagious. We have about a 50% success rate at showing up, and a 15% success rate at making it to the final hymn rather than slipping into the vestibule after communion. (Youngest is a very active 3 and there is no children’s room or program.). Once a month there is Sunday school for the oldest, which requires parents to stay for a parents’ program for an hour and a half after mass.

    8:45 AM: Rush to run errands; sometimes the kids are dropped at the grandparents’ until lunch.

    Try to deal with the large errands or household projects that require DH before sports games start at 1. Go for a long (5-10 mile) run if I can get away with it. Field multiple texts demanding my immediate return.

    1 PM: DH watches sports. Sometimes we will meet up with family and friends or go to a kid birthday party.

    3:30 PM: Realize that despite all the errands I am out of some critical item (bread, milk, medicine, school request) that must go to school tomorrow morning and go to the grocery store, leaving the children to ruin critical moments of sporting match with repeated demands for YouTube toy videos.

    5 PM: Prepare dinner no one likes.

    6:45 PM: Begin putting children to bed and learn about another forgotten school item or homework assignment. Figure out how to get it in the morning.

    8 PM: Children asleep…for the moment. Realize wet load of laundry is still in the washer and no one fed the cat.

  74. Milo – I say go where you are happy and where you will go. I was raised by devout Lutherans, every single Sunday we were at early church! I’m now an atheist so it can go any way. I always liked the idea of the Saturday mass so I could sleep in on Sundays, but the Lutheran’s gave real bread at communion which was a more substantial snack than just a wafer so I dug that!

    I’m not a huge fan of Sundays as they have become so busy. I do my shopping first thing in the morning then the day is a whirl of activities, laundry and other stuff. One of the perks of being a SAHM is I now take Monday as my Sunday. I do strongly encourage my kids to do their homework on Friday after school if they don’t have anything else ready – that way they can enjoy the whole weekend thereafter and you don’t have that Sunday afternoon feeling of dread. Doesn’t always work but I hope they learn that its best to just get all the unpleasant stuff out of the way as soon as possible.

  75. Rocky – Omelettes with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and pesto. Put (spicy) Italian sausage on the side. You can have whatever toast you’d like. Or make it a frittata.

  76. Sky – have all of them outgrown naps ? Kid nap time used to be my downtime or my nap time.

  77. My own post exhausted me after I read it, but the truth since I’m such a morning person, all of that is generally done by 11am at the latest, which is about the time our kids realize they cannot live on Minecraft and Youtube alone, so then we go out to lunch. And the rest of the afternoon is spent lounging, watching sports, or binge watching Netflix.

  78. Sky…it gets so much easier. We are in the blissful stage of not needing to really supervise or entertain, but also homework hasn’t completely taken over their lives, so weekends really are relaxing.

    Mafalda we also do Agents of Shield on Sunday night but right now we are catching up via Netflix.

  79. Eggs in purgatory – poach eggs in leftover tomato sauce, top with shaved Parmesan cheese.

    Deli tray + nuts, peppers, olives, etc. Dessert of fresh strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinegars

    Lamburgers (no bun) with tzatziki, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives

    Get “101 Easy Asian Meals” and make the pork lettuce wraps (omg good), side of the cucumber salad

  80. “I am so sick of the whole thing, and I just can’t wait until it is over.”

    Lauren, I have heard the same thing from brother and my Jewish SIL. She is, by her own admission, only culturally Jewish like her parents. She told me that though she would *like* to really believe, she just doesn’t. But she sent the kids to a Jewish preschool, and currently to Hebrew school and Jewish summer camp, because she wants them to understand her culture. My brother is, by his own admission, a “nothing” lapsed Catholic, who was fine with raising the kids sort of Jewish because neither one of them believes anything. Their DD is a compliant studious child who enjoys the intellectual challenge of learning Hebrew; their younger DS hates Hebrew school and told his parents that he doesn’t care about having his Bar Mitzvah in Israel or anywhere else, and would like to drop out the whole thing.

    I don’t think that their situation is all that unusual among secular Jews, especially those married to non-Jews.

    So I don’t understand the business model, as it were, adopted by the synagogues in which people are charged very high fees for membership (to get into the preschool), High Holy Days and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, which turns them off and means that they will disappear once the kids are all teenagers.

  81. “Have you checked out Episcopalianism? It’s what the Church of England in America was rebranded after the Revolutionary War.”

    FIL really liked my old joke “What’s the difference between a Baptist and a Methodist?”

    “A Methodist wears shoes. What’s the difference between a Methodist and an Episcopalian?”

    “An Episcopalian has a trust fund.”

    I think we’re going to pick one of the two we grew up in. I’d say either is fine for both of us. I’m kinda with LfB on the “multiple paths” belief.

    That said, it was a shock to me in college to learn that some of the most conservative, traditionally minded Protestants have this mentality that you “shop” for a church. In our tight little group of four very close friends, we had a Southern Baptist, a defecting Mormon (he started school not drinking soda, but didn’t leave for his mission after sophomore year, as he was supposed to, and started drinking soda and alcohol after that), and two Catholics.

    The Baptist was, somewhat sardonically and almost in mock character of his type, the most conservative and was ranting about something, but the two of us Catholics pointed out that he almost never attended church. His response became one of those lines that friends re-tell each other for the rest of their lives when he said “I haven’t yet found a church here that I like.”

    This was senior year.

  82. Doesn’t sukiyaki need sugar in the sauce?

    “Duck with cabbage”

    I was thinking of kalua pig with cabbage. No sugar needed. Just add extra salt to the pig so the whole dish isn’t too bland.

    Kalua pig: pork butt, salt, liquid smoke, overnight in a slow cooker. Banana leaf optional.

  83. ” Our current guy runs an hour and 15 minutes for Mass on his good days”

    My dad is having none of that nonsense. He is a time guy, and there is just no deviating from that. They set in the second row, with the front row frequently empty. When the priest starts the homily my dad lifts his arm and visibly checks his watch. It’s not meant as a sign for the priest, he just can’t help himself. When he thinks it has gone on as long as he thinks it should go, he checks his watch again. I’m sure the “correct” length was established by the priest we loved. He does this every single week, for decades, and it still makes me laugh/cringe. You don’t run long on my dad’s watch.

  84. MBT, I’m with your dad. Seven minutes is time enough for a homily. The mass we usually attend on Sundays is televised and therefore has an hour limit. There is a countdown clock that both the priest and the choir can see. Love it.

  85. RMS – do you have a spiralizer that makes zucchini noodles (zoodles)? They are quite a good substitute for pasta. We tried cauliflower rice, but thought that was gross.

    Is a sweet potato or yam allowed? If so, what about a small steak, baked sweet potato and roasted broccoli?

    Also, our family had an official name for feeling low on Sundays: SNBs (Sunday Night Blues).

  86. Scarlett, this is exactly how I feel except that my daughter really likes Hebrew school. She enjoys being part of the community at the synagogue, and she has even started to help with the little kids. I seem to be the only one that has a problem with the place, but I am also the one that is stuck with the logistics of this year, and tasked with organizing a very large party. I have a feeling that she will be one of those kids that might want to attend through HS.

  87. A joke I heard

    The Salvation Army pulls you out of the gutter.
    The Baptists save you.
    The Methodists civilize you.
    The Presbyterians educate you.
    The Episcopalians sophisticate you.
    The Salvation Army pulls you out of the gutter.

  88. Lauren – if your DD has friends in Hebrew school that also attend her regular school there is overlap and that is the feeling of being part of a “community”.

    Milo – quite likely if the church is close by, there will be families who attend church, the same school as your kids and who live nearby. As I mentioned to Lauren, though you may not get that close to the parents, the kids may find they like to play with kids from the church/school overlap set.

  89. Any opinions on gas vs. electric clothes dryer? I think my gas dryer dried its last load yesterday, and I’m thinking of replacing with an electric one.

  90. CoC – I’ve never had a gas dryer, so it seems foreign to me. Logically, burning natural gas in your dryer will be more efficient than burning natural gas 100 miles away, turning it into electricity, transmitting it, paying a bunch of extra markups and taxes and subsidies on it to support other sources of electricity, and then running that electrical current through a resistor bank in your dryer.

  91. I’ve always had a gas dryer in this house because that’s what was here when we moved in. But I thought maybe an electric dryer is safer; not sure why that thought entered my head. We moved the laundry room from the basement to the second floor during our remodeling. Plus maybe an electric dryer is more compact, which would be an advantage since our laundry room space is tight. I’m just starting to shop.

  92. DD, where do usually ski?

    Finn, the last couple of years we’ve been going to Arapahoe Basin. Prior to that, we went to Loveland. Occasionally we’ve gone to some other places (especially when the kids has the fifth and sixth grade passes), but with the season pass deals, you get locked in someplace for the season.

  93. “‘What’s the difference between a Methodist and an Episcopalian?’

    ‘An Episcopalian has a trust fund.'”

    Hahahahaha. In my own personal experience, it’s more like “Episcopalians drink real wine at communion.”

    Plus what Moxie said. :-)

  94. On congregation shopping…When initially looking for private schools we looked at parochial due to the lesser cost. What I forgot was to look at the church/congregation that supports them (first school). Second school, I attended the “considering membership class”. Then I was confused because the two schools were supposedly from the same synod of Lutheranism (more conservative), but the second one was more like the other one (more liberal). When I talked to the pastor he said that churches/congregations have to pick a synod, but within each there is a spectrum and sometimes in the middle it is grey as to which one the congregation looks most like. OK, that was 11 years ago. In that time the congregation has moved more towards its conservatives synod’s beliefs. It is also losing membership and can’t quite figure out why…hmm.

  95. We did our church shopping back before the first kid was born. My DH was raised Catholic but had pretty much left as it had become too conservative for him under the last Pope. He likes the ceremonial part though. If I had my free choice, I would be a Quaker, the liberal kind, but they don’t have the ceremonial thing. So we chose an Episcopal church – all the ceremony, all the liberalism. The congregation, it turned out, was almost all former Catholics.

  96. Scarlett, re your business model question.

    When I was in about 3rd grade my mom was the membership person for our temple. As I recall the dues weren’t that much, but there was no pre-school admissions process involved. High Holidays tickets cost more than membership, which I kind of equate to parishes and all other Christian denominations bringing in a large chunk of their operating budget at Christmas and Easter, albeit on a voluntary vs ticketed basis. By the time I was prepping for Bar Mitzvah my mom was a widow and our income was much reduced so maybe I was taken on as a charity case for Hebrew School/training. I think my mom had promised my dad that I would celebrate the Bar Mitzvah although he was a non-practicing Presbyterian, so, yeah, once that was accomplished I was allowed to choose for myself how/whether I’d participate. My mom remarried to a Jewish guy, and they’ve both been essentially High Holiday Jews since then (except recently for all the funerals of relatives, friends, and friend-of-friends).

  97. Anon, I suspect you are talking about the Missouri Synod Lutherans. That is brutal, old school, separate the women from the men stuff!

  98. I love the ELCA Lutheran Church , also ceremony and ritual like the Catholic church, but liberal

  99. @Wine, was ELCA too. Can still do the whole service without the book. “Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.” Love the songs!

  100. I attended a number of Lutheran churches during my years in the midwest/TX. Some really nice ones. Remarkably similar to the ones I knew — same hymns, same liturgy. But it was all done in a minor key. So I left depressed instead of uplifted. :-)

    [And thanks, Moxie, now I have the Episcopalian version of that running through my head!]

  101. I lived for about six months in Valparaiso, IN (I was teaching in South Bend, DH was in law school in Chicago) and it was wall-to-wall Lutheran churches. Every Sunday you could go for a walk and see all the good Valpo Lutherans off to their various churches.

    (No, Scarlett, not the good college in South Bend; the other one.)

  102. We always went to the parish nearest to us. The parish I grew up in was huge, then in the Northeast we attended small parishes that were on the verge of closing as the demographics shifted. We never considered shopping for a parish as over time things can change and usually not to your liking.
    And the politics of the church groups can sometimes put Election 2016 to shame.

  103. milo, in our parish, one could “home school” for CCD as long as you paid the fee and bought the book! we did this when the ccd years weren’t mandatory (first communion and confirmation).

  104. CoC, is your laundry location already wired for an electric dryer? They typically have their own 220V circuit. If not, then you need to consider the expense of running 220V to your dryer location as part of your decision process.

  105. Thanks, Finn. I suspected that, so I’d have to pay to cap the gas line and run a 220 electric line if I switched to electric. My H saw the added net expenses and decided for me that we would stay with the gas dryer!

  106. CoC, I grew up in a house with a gas dryer and it never blew up and we never died of carbon monoxide poisoning. So there you go. Perfectly safe.

  107. I thought it was more common for people to want to change their dryer from electric to gas than vice versa, because in most places it costs less to use a gas dryer.

    My primary dryer has always been solar, especially since the Right to Dry bill was passed here several years ago. As a kid, the only dryers we had were solar.

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