Planning Dinner on a Schedule
Having the family eat together is one of the few things on which I'm adamant. Unfortunately, that becomes more difficult as the children age and move on to activities; there are nights on which it's impossible. So if we can't all eat together, we can all at least have a hot meal in our respective shifts.
The key to making this work anymore is planning, and using the family calendar is crucial. What's coming this evening and for the next several nights? While I'm not religious about it - and it would probably help - I sometimes sit down and plan the meals for a week in advance so that we don't spend our time eating sandwiches.
Today is a case in point. One child has a play practice from 6 to 9 pm and another has an activity starting at 6:30, requiring us to leave at 6:00 as well. There's also a piano lesson at 4:30. The kicker is that we have to meet with somebody at the house at 5:15. The youngest is home with nothing planned and can stay with my mate while I run the other two. How do I handle this?
- First, understand that this will not be the evening for a full family meal. That said, I can eat earlier with the children before the visitor.
- The afternoon routine won't permit me to spend much time on food preparation. If there's a hot meal, it's made ahead of time.
- My available time is in the morning, so any meal preparation has to happen early.
The best option today winds up as a crock-pot chili that can cook through the course of the day with minimal work ahead of time. With a larger crock-pot, I'll be able to make enough that tomorrow's meal is already made since that evening is booked as well.
But at least tomorrow, we can eat together.
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