I’ve been a mom for almost 19 years now. It’s hard to believe that my youngest is seven and my oldest is in college, and of course I wonder where the time has gone. A few years back, the Moms Group at church I was in had invited a few of the lovely and precious grandmothers to come share some wisdom with our young group. At that point, we were all in the same boat. New moms, young families, struggling with the idea of “getting it all done and doing it just right”.
Meal planning seemed to be at the top of everyones lists, and I wrote down some of the best advice I could’ve received, and wanted to share it in turn.
These tips from an older generation have been some of the most sanity-saving ideas for me, both practical and freeing.
Plan Your Week
I’m a list maker, so planning a menu for my week comes easy to me.
I know that not everyone is, but trust me, meal planning is the first step in simplifying your busy week.
To help, I’ve made a free printable all-in-one list and menu printable to help you keep planning simple and all in one place.
|Click image to print|
For example, I know that Tuesdays are my busiest days. I have elementary school drop off, band pick up at 5, my nephew until 5:30, kids homework, not to mention my own daily list of chores and work to get done. And soon, baseball season will begin. So, I jot those things down, and plan a simple meal. Frozen meals are perfect for these evenings.
Shop Smart to Save Money and Time
By shop smart, I mean shop sales, take advantage of coupons and rebates, and stock up when you can.
For example, one of the best deals available right now is at Publix through the Frozen Rewards Club (REGISTER HERE*).
When you purchase at least $30 worth of Marie Callender’s®, Healthy Choice®, P.F. Chang’s© and/or Bertolli© FROZEN products at your local Publix store, you can submit your proof of purchase online and earn a $10 Publix Gift Card. You can do this up to 5 times per household, so you could spend $150 on items and receive $50 back through the Frozen Rewards Club. And, even better, the $30 can be reached in multiple shopping trips.
I stocked up on these items for those busy weeknight evenings.
I spent about $54 and will get back $10, but next time I shop it could put me over $60 in total spent so I’ll receive another $10 back when I upload an image of my receipt.
One busy evening we enjoyed the PF Changs Vegetable Mini Egg Rolls & Sesame Chicken which was ready and on the plates in about 15 minutes. Just enough time to eat and head out the door.
Another evening, I paired the Bertolli© Chicken Florentine & Farfalle with some fresh veggies and a salad, and in about 20 minutes I had a delicious dinner on the table.
Remember that Everything Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
What? I couldn’t believe it when one of the grandmothers told us this. I just knew she had her act together and nothing in her home wasn’t perfect. But not so, she told us. She realized when she quit stressing about everything being just so, there was great freedom to be found.
Don’t add stress to your dinner prep by thinking that you have to remove everything from the stove, put it into dishes, and serve it on glass plates around a fancy perfectly set tablescape every. single. night.
Your family will still love you whether dinner is served buffet style onto paper plates or on fine china. When the food is delicious, even if it only took 20 minutes to prepare it, it doesn’t matter what you serve it on.
Have a Backup Plan
Let’s face it, even with all the best planning in the world, there’s always the chance that something will go awry.
Maybe you’re so tired by dinner that you don’t feel cooking.
Or the teenager calls to let you know that practice is going to run late.
The middle schooler just informed you that he has a science fair project. Due tomorrow.
The little ones turned on the water hose and decided to wash the dog, who is now tearing through the house.
Or maybe those are just real life scenarios that have happened in my house, but you get the idea.
When you have a back up plan available, like those delicious frozen meals you’ve stocked up, dinner isn’t an issue.
Don’t Forget Dessert
I know, words of wisdom, I’m telling you. Don’t forget dessert, and your family will greatly appreciate you for it.
Also, it’s the perfect reason to buy this Marie Callender’s® Turtle Pie.
Give Yourself a Break & Simply Enjoy Your Family
This was my favorite.
Quoted directly from my journal I kept with me that day,
“Listen mamas, pat yourself on the back. You’re busy, I know. And you love your family, so give yourself permission relax and enjoy them.”
There have been too many evenings I’ve spent stressing over dinner because I wasn’t prepared, and by the time I actually got it all ready, I wasn’t fun to be around. I wish I could take back those evenings and just enjoy our meal time together.
Simple but delicious frozen meals, cooked in only a few minutes, would’ve helped with this had I planned ahead.
So remember, be smart when you plan and shop. Stock up right now on the delicious frozen dinners from Publix & save money while you do), don’t worry about being perfect, and simply enjoy your family (and that delicious Turtle Pie)!
*Frozen Rewards program available from 2/1/16-4/30/16