Answer: It takes planning to truly be able to rest on Shabbat. If you don't plan, things will creep up and need handling on Shabbat. Here is a list of tips that I have learned in the last few years as I try to set Shabbat apart. Some may work for you, and some may not. Take what works for you. :)
- Use paper plates for Friday night and Saturday. Leave those plates at the table and use them for each meal. Then you don't have to keep clearing and setting the table.
- Begin preparation day on Thursday. I really need the extra day to get everything done.
- Keep a simple menu on Shabbat. We eat roughly the same thing every week, to save thinking of something new.
- Do the laundry on Friday. This particularly holds true for diapers. I wash the diapers on Friday, no matter what. I don't want to risk running out and having to wash in an emergency.
- Start Shabbat with a clean kitchen and a clean house, as much as possible. Then if you need to sweep up the crumbs from Saturday breakfast real quick, it's not that big a deal.
- Use the crock pot. We have crockpot lasagna every Friday night. It goes in before lunch and I know dinner is taken care of. Then I can focus on cleaning, etc. (Our lasagna is vegetarian with broccoli and chickpeas, yum!)
- If you are eating veggies and dip on Shabbat, cut the veggies up on Thursday and put them in baggies. All you have to do on Shabbat is dump them on a tray.
- Teach the children to not make a mess on Shabbat. (still working on this one :)
- Assemble a "treasure chest" for Shabbat. Fill it with quiet, non messy activities for the kids, such as: coloring books, Bible dvds, simple games, music for dancing, ideas for scavenger hunts, Bible themed toys, felt sets, colored pencils, origami, puzzles etc. It only comes out on Shabbat and then gets stored during the week. Rotate the contents periodically.
- Keep yourself occupied with reading material, new teachings, an idea for a Bible study, music to listen to or dance with the kids. Go for a walk outdoors to enjoy creation.
- Keep things tidy during Shabbat by picking up the one item on the floor. If it gets to ten items on the floor, I think it's starting to look like work.
- Enjoy your day off. Really! You don't have to work! I love that no one can ask me to do anything, and I have Scripture to back me up. It's not selfishness or laziness. It's enjoying the gift that YHVH gave me.
- Shalom Sesame
- The Bedtime Sh'ma book and The Bedtime Sh'ma CD
- As Long as I Breathe by Zemar Levav
- Doorposts - A Day of Delight (translate ideas to Saturday rather than Sunday)
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