Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dinner Prep

When do you make your evening meal? 

It has taken me many years to learn this about myself, but I finally have learned that by the time 6pm gets here (about the time we are making or eating our evening meal) I am TIRED!  I am worn out from cleaning, teaching, cleaning some more, errand running, kid’s activities, and other regular activities I participate in during the day.  If the kids have late practices or activities our dinner gets pushed back and I am even more likely to skip making it and go through a drive through.  I am also not a napper generally so don’t bother suggestion that I need to take a 20 minute nap.  If I take a nap it is hours not minutes and with young children in the house, I just can’t always do that.  

This week I have given some serious thought to this topic – as serious thought as one can give to meal planning – and I have finally realized that making dinner at lunch time is the solution.  More often than not we are home for lunch.  Our homeschool schedule often is complete by lunch and I have the rest of the afternoon to focus on homemaking (or avoid it).  I also am relatively awake and ready to switch gears. How can I tap into this energy and use it for good instead of evil?

This week I have made it a point to plan our meals at least a few days in advance (although going much further than that is not all that helpful to me).  I planned lasagna, tuna casserole, and green bean/sausage/potatoes crockpot.  Before I make lunch, while I make lunch, or just after lunch I have taken 30 minutes to prep the food.  For the baked dishes I assemble the dish and put foil over it to be put in the oven a little closer to dinner time.  For the crock pot meal I wash, cut, and toss in the pot to be slow cooked all day (the smells are killing me). 

I don’t know why, but in an otherwise terrible personal week, this has been a little ray of sunshine for me.  I know we aren’t spending ridiculous amounts of money eating out, they are all made with good healthy ingredients, and I feel so good that my family is going to enjoy these yummy dishes that I have prepared. 

The kids are pitching in too, without me asking!  I think they are also tired at dinner time and they just want to be served not help to serve.  K has helped me to open cans, stir, peal, and is my official taste tester.  J has also helped to peel and taste test.  D, our oldest daughter has helped to keep the kitchen clean.  We are all just have more energy and are more willing to help.  HALLELUA! 

We are also re-implementing something we got away from, which is setting the dinner table at this time.   It all goes back to the same philosophy, do the work when you have the energy.  Of course you can’t get it all done in those prime energy hours, but in this area of our lives, this is the solution to so many problems. 

What about you?  Some people aren’t home during the day so they can’t prep there dinner?  How do you do it?

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