Wow. It’s been an age, hasn’t it? I’m sorry for that. I’ve got only one (compound) word for you to explain myself.
I am co-chair, one of three, of the book fair at our elementary school. Weeks of planning decorations, meetings, phone calls, emails and coordinating the committees we formed all came together in one week-long glorious event where we got to see the kids every morning, see the teachers and parents every afternoon, and help them find books.
“Where is the Pokemon book?” “Have you ever heard of Pete the Cat?” “Do you have …?”
We had three shifts of workers come in every day to help us run the cash registers, check the kids’ money to make sure they had enough, occasionally empty the kids’ pockets of pilfered erasers and pens, and help on the floor. This was great as we had amazing volunteers, but at least one of us chairpeople supervised at each shift just in case questions came up about … anything. As I am the early morning person among us, I volunteered for the early shift, 7-8:30. I would also work the first three hour shift of the afternoon (12-3) because my schedule allowed for that, but the rest of my schedule, the one that starts at 3pm and goes until 9pm remained the same.
Despite the grueling week, it was important to me to cook every day, make sure there was dinner each night, plus celebrate two birthdays. I still can’t believe I pulled it off. There were times … not gonna lie … that I wanted to cry from fatigue and a messy house, but we got through them.
How? Read on.
Last weekend, we divided and conquered. Abby and Mollie had a swim meet and Homecoming and husband took Emma, Lizzie, Bennett and Mary camping with the Cub Scouts. I stayed home, took Abby and Mollie to the meet (across town, almost to Athens!), getting home around 2 in the afternoon. Abby had to shower, exchange her deathtrap shoes, find a just-right-necklace and get delivered to her friend’s house to get ready. I got home from that whirlwind, sat down on the couch in my (quiet, only one other person home) house to read before we needed to leave for dinner when Abby sent me a text saying we were meeting for pictures in 45 minutes.
So much for a little sit down time.
But, we met, the girls were beautiful, we ate a delicious sushi dinner, I delivered the girls to the school for the dance (thankfully another mom was bringing them home) and the day was finally over. Sunday morning I woke up, made coffee and sat in bed with the laptop. I knew the week was going to be a disaster schedule-wise which would mean if I didn’t have an airtight plan, we would end up spending $500 on take out. Easily. So, I got the notebook, pulled up Pinterest and the calendar and got to work. The girls and I hit Costco after church, fulfilled the list, and we were set.
Monday was Fajita Quesadillas. I came home every morning between the first shift and the second shift, and this was when I made or assembled dinner each day. I cut the vegetables, I shredded the rotisserie chicken and cheese and had it all ready so that when it was time to eat, I got out the cast iron griddle and made two at a time. We had rice and black beans with this. Abby and Mollie, who get home from swim late and at different times always get their foil-covered dinner out of the 250º oven.
Tuesday was Abby’s birthday. I wrote about that here, but we had chili and Tiramisu (both of which I’d made in the morning). That night was also a special day at the book fair and everyone stayed home from swim because they all helped me. Abby dressed up as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Emma painted faces, Mary dressed up as Merida and Lizzie dressed up as Maid Marion (the theme was medieval). We got home after 6pm, had dinner that was already made and celebrated.
Wednesday things were starting to get to me. The house was a mess. The laundry was piling up. Swim carpool was going to need to be paid attention to because it wasn’t just about my kids, there were others involved. I had choir practice that night until 9pm. It was one of those days that you sit on your couch at 5am and wish you could just transport yourself 24 hours forward so that it would all be over … and the week was only half over. Nina to the rescue! My mom offered to take the kids to swim, stay there with them and bring them home. I only had to get Mollie to our pick up spot at 5:20. The rest of the time I was able to stay at home and play catch up. I’d made Crock Pot Short Ribs (I used stew meat this time) in the morning, so they were simmering away. All I needed to do was make creamed cauliflower, mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables in the afternoon. It was a one-bowl comfort dinner on a day we all needed some comfort.
Thursday. Home stretch. Same schedule except that we had all our conferences, so time was shortened. Mollie’s was at 9:30 in the morning, so I had minimal time at home in the morning. I had originally scheduled Burrito bowls, but because we’d already had Mexican earlier in the week, and I knew I would be driving to the pool twice that day, I decided to stick with our typical Thursday and make soup. Plus, it was Lizzie’s Honor Chorus performance at 6pm (I went to) and the high school swim team meeting (Husband went to). I needed something that I could make in the morning that would sit and wait on us to eat as people got home. Broccoli Cheese soup it was. Except that I added kale (remember about the iron for Abby?). This recipe is pretty good, but I have others I want to try in the future.
Friday! We made it! Last day of Book Fair!! Also … Emma’s 17th birthday. She wanted Asian food. I have not always been successful in the past making Asian food at home. I’m better, but let’s just say I know my limitations. There are a few recipes I can do, but there are also a few things I buy. Because I’m no good at lo mein. I’m no good at Egg Rolls, Spring Rolls or soup. So that, we buy. But Sesame Chicken and Mongolian Beef? No problem. (Those links, by the way go to an AWESOME recipe website, it is a KEEPER. Baked in the South.) I prepped everything in the morning. Cut up and marinated the chicken and beef (left them in bags in the fridge). Made the sauces and left them to reheat. Made Emma’s Chocolate Chocolate cake (best chocolate cake recipe ever, I just add espresso powder), and left them on the counter to cool. I had exactly 45 minutes in the afternoon to finish icing the cake before we left for swim practice. Getting home at 7:20 was stressful, but because of all the prep done, all I had to do was fry up the beef and the chicken, steam the broccoli, heat up the sauces, and serve. (It was a tad more stressful than that, but it was as calm as it could be considering. Give me a glass of Friday night wine and I can make anything happen.)
I’ve made it to Saturday. We have swim this morning, kids are scattered this evening and I have my first voice lesson in 10 years. I’m scared to death. But dinner is planned. It was going to be Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili but we may just eat leftovers. Or maybe I’ll make it and we’ll eat it tomorrow.
That way Sunday’s done too.