Lately life seems to be a series of a whole lot of hurry up and wait with a side of changes. I’m pretty sure that none of that is a favorite recipe of mine. Every time I seem to think I’ve found my groove, something changes and just throws everything off again.
To help combat the new status quo with our family life and schedule I’ve been trying to learn to be more organized instead of my usual fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants method. I can’t say it’s going that well or that I’ve really perfected any part of that, but I am trying.
Would it shock you if I admitted that I am a TERRIBLE menu planner? I plan with the best of intentions, but my follow through often gets waylaid by reality. I think to myself, “this is the week I’ll make dinner as planned at least 3 times.” Then instead we eat a whole lot of peanut butter sandwiches, pancakes and grilled cheese or quesadillas, take out pizza, etc..
We do better on the weekends, but weeknights are a whole different ballgame. This little shopping trip is for the ingredients for my next recipe I’ll be sharing for the second part of the Kraft Fresh Take challenge I’m participating in. The challenge this time is for an easy, complete, weeknight meal that can also double as a packable lunch from leftovers.
I do occasionally make a plan and stick to it (like those sliders I shared not long ago for the first part of the challenge). It’s not the norm. I’m obviously not one of those fantastic guru bloggers who is organized to the hilt (I just keep hoping to somehow channel those amazing moms). I’m probably a lot more like you than you may think. We keep it pretty real around here all the time, which isn’t always pretty.
While I mentioned when I made the sliders that I don’t mind using helpful ingredient shortcuts sometimes, I’m not always good at thinking ahead.
There are pantry staples I like to have on hand that make it simpler and certain ingredients that really make figuring out a meal just that much easier.
I’m glad through this #KraftFreshTake program that I’ve found another one (and with so many varieties)!
I was explaining to the hubby earlier what my day looks like tomorrow and it got me thinking about how many days look just like this, or more often than not even crazier with a few extracurriculars and other doctors appointments thrown in for good measure.
Anyway, the day I did my shop-a-long video was actually a pretty common day in it’s chaotic glory. Shopping for the Kraft Fresh Take (#KraftFreshTake) Kroger Shop-A-Long video was fun and pretty painless. I especially love grocery shopping in the mornings when my brain isn’t quite as fried, the stores aren’t too full and I can enjoy the atmosphere of a well laid out, nicely lit and planned store.
Anyway, since it was my usual chaotic day (which you can read more about below if you really want to know what our whirlwind looks like) I ended up having all my ducks in a row that day to shoot the video, with the exception of actually getting to grab a shower that morning. Or do makeup. Or my hair. But let’s face it. It doesn’t get much more real than this!
So, please keep that in mind as you watch the video… ’cause it’s pretty unfiltered but I think you may end up being able to see some of yourself in there as well. (Funny enough, I may have felt more discombobulated by the fact that I was actually by myself for once instead of having to referee the kids the whole time, but a 20 minute video of me and the kids just wasn’t what I was going for here.)
The day goes pretty much like this:
6:30 am – try to drag my sorry behind out of bed (most likely after another sleepless night due to allergies for me and coughing kids)
6:45 am – sure as heck better be up by now and getting ready to attempt to wake the sleeping Thing 1 – this will most likely involve grabbing some kind of caffeine to kick my morning off
7:00 am – hopefully he’s finally up, has had his ADHD meds (which I’ll be praying kick in!) and is finally at least trying to get dressed instead of arguing and flopping around his room
7:15 am – by now the flopping, flipping and stalling should be just about over and he should actually be dressed for school and ready to try to eat breakfast – in the meantime it’s take the puppy out and a little play time and breakfast for him too
7:30 am – most likely still sipping my caffeine while having to remind the eldest kiddo to take a bite of food every minute or two while trying hard to hang on to my temper as we head into starting to run out of time before leaving for school
7:40 am – out of time whether he has eaten more than 3 bites and time to get shoes, teeth brushing, back pack, coat, etc. and head out the door to be to school with no tardy and hopefully minimal stalling
7:50 am – take a deep breath before getting the next kids up – double header with the littles who both have to be to school for 9 am start times… schools that are 15 miles apart no less
7:55 am – grab clothes for the kid and wake Thing 2 and send him off to get dressed and start waking up – thankfully he wakes easily, if a little grumpy at times
8:00 am – while Thing 2 is dressing, it’s time to wake up the little sister pixie – usually getting all her stuff ready first which means get her allergy and thyroid medicine ready, make her cereal bottle, get diaper/wipes ready, outfit for the day and spare outfit for the backpack
8:10 am – Feed Thing 2 – sit him down to some breakfast while I scramble to wake the Pixie and get her ready to go
8:20 am – Get the Pixie her cereal bottle for breakfast and get Thing 2 finished getting ready (more teeth brushing, shoe and backpack finding)
8:30 am – Out the door with Thing 2 and the Pixie – drop Thing 2 off early at his preschool (thank goodness I can!) and hurry 15 miles away to the Pixie’s preschool for a 9am start time
9:00 am – special needs preschool for the Pixie with a little extra assistance in the classroom for the first 15 minutes before heading out
9:15 am – off to run errands – usually grocery shopping! All the grocery stores are at least 10 minutes from our house, so once I’ve shopped I have to make sure to have at least 15 minutes to head back and pick Thing 2 up from preschool by at 11 am – which with driving generally means I have about an hour to shop including checkout before heading to get him
10:45 am – head to 1st preschool pickup at 11am
11:00 am – hurry and drop off groceries at home, put away perishables fast before running right back out the door with Thing 2 in tow
11:30 am – pick up the Pixie from preschool, talk to teachers if needed (anywhere from 5 minutes to an extra meeting with teacher and/or speech therapist)
?? Depending on what happens the rest of the day we go home again, lunch for the kids (not always for Mom), online preschool for Thing 2 and a little extra speech therapy / play time with the Pixie. We usually have about a whole whopping 30-40 minutes of free time at this point before it’s time to head out and line up in the carpool to get Thing 1 again who gets out at 2:30. It’s then immediately home for homework, snack time, and time with the dog who has been living with scraps of time throughout the day when possible. Homework, on a good day is done by 4pm (there’s a lot of it and not nearly as much focus as needed). At this point it’s time to take the dog for a walk, and grab another little bit of free time before it’s time for dinner, a little free time for the kids while I clean, the bedtime bath and bed battle, and then finally some rest (or so they say!). Me? I’ll most likely be passing out at that point.
Obviously after a full throttle day like that (that usually makes sure I don’t accomplish anything that is actually discernible as ‘getting things done around the house’ – you know… the kind of day where your loving spouse asks what you actually did all day… yeah. Good times.
Anyway, on a day like that, dinner isn’t really always a high priority even though I wanted and intended it to be. So. Now that I’ve tortured you with a run down of my day you’re probably wondering why I just put us both through that.
My reasons are simple and finite.
1. I know that your day most likely doesn’t look all that different from mine – I know this because I actually do know other moms and there isn’t a harder working crowd to be found!
2. I wanted you to know how I was truly keeping it real when I made this video of my shopping trip to my local Kroger store (which will perhaps explain why I’m fully sharing an off the cuff, no makeup, no hair done, unscripted video with you)
3. I was pleasantly surprised that even though I was walking around with my camera making this video I ended up having a peaceful time because I had a plan and I knew I had some awesome ingredient shortcuts on my side.
I hope you enjoyed the video! I’ve shared the shopping list in the video as well, but I thought it would be fun to share it here too. What would you do with these ingredients? I’ll be showing you this week what I did with them so I hope you’ll check back in soon!
DISCLOSURE: I was compensated for my participation and the materials and ingredients used in working on the Kraft Fresh Take program and the Kroger Shop-A-Long, and as always my opinions, recipes, and thoughts are 100% my own.