Nothing makes my OCD heart happier than planning ahead. Now, I know everyone’s not wired the same way. BUT, I just wanted to share some of my tips for being a full-time working mom with two kids in school! I’ll be honest, even if I wasn’t working full-time, I’d still do this. That’s how I roll, and it works for me!
Now that Turner is in kindergarten, and Gracie starts preschool in a few days, I plan ahead as much as possible. Here are some things I do to make life a little easier!
- I make my meal list and grocery list over the weekend. I shop either Saturday or Sunday, and I’m done for the week! I find this helps in the budgeting department too! My favorite app for grocery shopping is called Shoplist. Download it in the app store for free! The best part is that it separates groceries by category (freezer, dairy, produce, meat, etc)! And when you’re done with an item, check it, and it disappears! Super helpful!
- The second thing I do is spend an hour or so on Sundays prepping for our weeknight meals. I don’t walk in the door until 5 on weeknights, so the thought of starting to cook at that point is way too stressful for words. Things I make ahead are things like: dressings, chopped veggies, items to assemble for a baked meal, etc. I go through my meals, and basically anything I can cook or prep ahead of time, I do!
So here’s our menu for this week and here’s how I prepped:
- Monday: Stuffed Pepper Casserole (Cooked the filling – ground turkey, onion, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce – and put in a container. Cooked rice and put in separate container. The night of, combine in baking dish, top with cheese, bake, done!)
- Tuesday: Meatballs (cooked meatballs. Added sauce, and stored in container. Night of, simmer on the stove in the sauce. Serve alone or with pasta!)
- Wednesday: Quinoa Power Bowl (Peeled and cut sweet potatoes & stored in container. Made dressing and stored in container. Night of, roast sweet potatoes, cook quinoa, assemble. Done!)
- Thursday: Spring Roll Bowls (Made dressing and stored in container. Night of, cook rice noodles, chop, assemble, done!)
- Friday: Hummus Power Bowl (This one’s super simple. Night of I’ll chop and assemble)
- Saturday: Chicken Parm (Also super simple. Will defrost chicken from the freezer in the fridge the night before)
- Sunday: Birthday party! No dinner planned.
3. I found THESE awesome bento boxes on Pottery Barn Kids. I ordered two for each kid. I’ll pack those on Sunday as well, so I have a head-start on lunch for the week! I also make a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, put in (freezer safe) ziplock bags and freeze. The morning of, I put in the lunchbox and they’re PERFECT by lunchtime. I even do this for myself. It’s a huge time saver.
4. Sometimes I throw together a make-ahead breakfast option. This week I have French Toast Sticks in the freezer. For these, I use almond milk, NO sugar but just a bit of maple syrup, and no cereal but just panko). I also love to have overnight oats and pre-made pancake mix as an option!
5. And last, but not least, I make a huge batch of this Elderberry Syrup (I stir in a teaspoon of turmeric too). This is HUGE in boosting the kids’ immune system. They take it every morning, and when fighting a cold we do it several times a day!
Hopefully this is helpful! Even if I don’t do everything on this list, anything I can do to make the week nights flow smoother makes me a happy camper! Good luck to all of you heading back to school!