When does a homeschool mom find the time to plan and prepare three meals a day plus snacks? Between homeschooling, diaper changes, toddler tantrums, loads of laundry, late night discussions with a preteen, early morning questions from an inquisitive child and many other tasks that I face each day, I don’t have the energy or brain power left to get descent meals on the table. Can you relate?
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Right now I am in a season of life where it’s difficult to keep the pantry stocked let alone find ingredients that can be assembled for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I’ve found that the crazier life gets the more organized I need to be. Planning is my best friend these days. How does that saying go? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Yip! That about sums up my life right now.
I’ve picked up a few tricks over the years for getting meals on the table. Plus, I am learning some new ones from two large family, homeschooling moms. Here are a few ways to get meals on the table when you homeschool.
Prepare the Night Before
I can’t tell you how helpful it has been to take a few minutes out of my evening to prep for the next day. Sometimes it is as simple as pulling frozen meat out of the freezer or boiling some eggs for breakfast. Other times it includes chopping vegetables for tomorrow’s dinner (because doing it when the baby and toddler are awake can get dangerous) or making sandwiches for lunch.
Here are some ways I try to prepare the night before.
- Pull frozen meat out of the freezer.
- Chop vegetables for tomorrow’s dinner.
- Cut up fruit for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Make sandwiches.
- Boil eggs for breakfast.
I find that doing at least one thing the night before helps me get meals on the table a little quicker the next day.
Have the Kids Help
Let’s be honest here. Having younger children help prepare meals usually slows things down or at least makes the process messier. However, if you can spend time on the weekends teaching a child how to prepare one recipe then you might be able to hand off at least one meal each week.
I taught each of my younger children how to make one type of sandwich for lunch. Each homeschool day, one child would prepare lunch for everyone. They would make the sandwich they had learned to prepare along with a fruit or vegetable on the side.
My older kids have each learned how to cook at least one dinner meal. That means that I only have to supervise dinner preparations on the days the children cook dinner.
Finding the time to teach my kids how to cook can be a challenge though. I usually try to work with them in the kitchen on the weekends or other non-school days.
Use the Crock-Pot
Sometimes just knowing I have to prepare dinner later in the day can weigh me down. That is why I love using my crock-pot. I can dump ingredients into it in the morning and not worry about dinner the rest of the day.
My crock-pot is also a helpful way to get dinner on the table when I know we will be running errands right up until dinner time. It’s a wonderful feeling to walk in the front door, smell the aroma of delicious food and know that dinner is ready to be served.
I hate looking at the clock and realizing that my family should have eaten 30 minutes ago with no clue what to prepare. Talk about adding stress to my life! I know that when I plan meals ahead of time, breakfast, lunch and dinner go a lot smoother.
My greatest struggle with meal planning is taking the time to plan ahead. Are you the same way or is it just me? But, when I make time to plan, I plan to succeed and that’s what a busy homeschool mom needs.
My friend, Kristi Clover has meal planning down to a science. She shares why you should meal plan and how to do it. Plus she was sweet enough to offer her weekly meal planner and grocery list printable for free. Make sure to check it out!
Homeschooling makes it more challenging to shop for groceries. First, you have to squeeze shopping in between teaching lessons, doing laundry, cleaning the house and shuttling kids to extra curricular activities. Then, you usually have to take all the kids along. What if there was a more effective way?
My friend Christina, who is mom to eleven kids, has figured out a way to do the bulk of her shopping only once every month or two. You read that right. She only does a big shopping run every 4 to 8 weeks. Are you curious about her strategy? I was too, so I hopped over to her blog to read all about it.
I’ve been implementing some of her ideas and it has really made a difference. I’m preparing the mega meal plan and doing the mega meal prep while my husband is tackling the mega shopping trip. We are easing into bulk shopping and trying to plan 2 to 3 weeks at a time.
Do you struggle getting meals on the table? What do you do to make it easier? I’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
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