Meal Planning for the Fams

Has there been a time when I wasn’t crazy busy?… I don’t recall. Maybe when I was in my mom’s belly just chillin’! But in all seriousness, it has been hard to keep up with my blog and its social page because I am just too busy being me. I know some think I am exaggerating when I say I have no time, but I kid you not. I get real busy!

My work schedule is back to normal. Yay! But that was rather necessary because my time is now going into other things. As I mentioned in a recent post, my son has joined a baseball league. They practice twice a week and have two games a week, and all happens in different days. On the other hand, my daughter has joined a softball league. She practices twice a week and has one game per week (a few weeks with double headers).  These activties are pretty much taking all of our evenings and half of our weekend. Then we gotta remember we are a scout family so we have pack or den meetings weekly, and as a den leader I have to prepare materials for my Tigers. Clearly we have a busy schedule, and of course I have to be a good mom and wife which means I gotta squeeze in time for cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping.

And I consider myself a great tech user so I do take advantage of things that make my life easier. Yup, Amazon Prime and I are real good friends. I use mobile apps to order and just pick up at stores like Starbucks, Panera, Panda Express or any choice where I can place my order through the app and just pick up. I’ve used delivery services from DoorDash to Instacart whatever makes my life easier. I also tried about a year ago or so Blue Apron for several months. It was a good choice and would have probably kept the subscription longer if we were empty nesters. I try my best to be efficient with my time and spend the least amount possible driving to/from stores.

Busy mom. You get it. Several people suggested me in the past to freeze meals to save time on the daily when there is no time to cook. I’ve meal prepped many times before enough for 3-4 days worth of breakfasts and work lunches. But all these meals were just refrigerated. For whatever insane reason I kept thinking that the moment I freeze any meals they would turn flavorless. I know, crazy thought! But that is how I felt, so I never gave it a try until a few weeks ago. Why? I seriously have no time when I get home to whoop a 20-mins meal. I get home from work and I have to take one of my kids to practice or a game most weekdays. So I knew I had to start using other methods to prepare meals. Queue the angelic sounds and bring in a slow cooker!

At first I thought I would just cook late every night for the next day but then the night routine comes in and I don’t believe in loosing any Zz’s. That doesn’t work. What to do then? Well, let’s try to some freezer meals! I have a great crock pot and an Instant Pot I can use. So I went to one of my favorite apps ever (yes my dear loving Pinterest I am talking about you) and found some freezer meal recipes to try. I went to the store with my ingredients list, came home and got started. For my first week I prepared four meals. Two of them were pre-cooked but would be finished in the oven. The other two required to freeze the recipe ingredients just to be added into a slow cooker in the morning. Brilliant! We had yummy home-cooked meals every night; now this I can live with!

I felt less rushed every night because dinners were pretty much ready when I got home or finishing in the oven while I was getting a load in the washer and cleaning a bit the house. Every night was less hectic. No need to stop at the store for ingredients, or to buy take-out, or to settle for cereal (though my kids do love when this happens). It was awesome! So this past weekend we did the same. Found some new recipes to try, wrote down the ingredients, went shopping for them and prepared the meals that are now in my freezer ready to make this another great week. I don’t even know why it took me so long to try freezer meals but I am so beyond happy I gave this one a try!

So this is my latest try to keep sanity, to be the best mom I can be, to be present for my family. It takes about one hour (or two depending on the recipes) of my Sunday to prepare the meals but I think of it as a great investment. This one hour (or so) of cooking/ prepping will yield 4-5 meals for my family and I think the ROI is even greater than that. I have this great feeling of accomplishment. I can be a great person at work and come home to be the best mom I can be. My energy goes into enjoying the time with my kids and being present.

If you are a struggling mom like I was, then this could help you a lot. Consider it! I will soon be sharing my favorite recipes with you. Working on it (slowly but surely you know).


Mama Bear Kim

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