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Discussion Starter #1
how do you do everything?

I got divorced last year and I used to get home by 3pm every day. It worked perfectly. However, I got a new boss in January and with that came new hours. I don't get home until 7pm every night.

Its been almost 8 months of trying to balance this and I have finally reached my breaking point.

I find trying to get dinner on the table, cleaned up, lunches packed for the next day and try to spend more than 5 minutes with my son just about impossible.

The past two nights I have literrally ended up in tears becasue I'm exhausted, have no patience and am yelling at my son for really no reason other than I have no patience.

I've been reading tips on how to prep for the week on Sunday. Does anyone actually do this, does it work and what other tips can you give me?

Any help would be truely appreciated!!
 

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Do you have a crockpot? That is how i would cook so when you get home you can have dinner. Don't think you have to get everything done at once i would focus on dinner with your son then getting ready for the next day. Even if you could cook a couple of meals on Sunday it would help with time management.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I do have a crock pot and actually just used it yesterday. I do use it but not enough. I need to spend a few minutes looking for easy crockpot recipes. I'm sure there is a ton out there.

The article I read was about prepping snacks ahead of time too. Like take the big box of "whatever" divide it into small snack bags and have ready to go. Make PB&J's, wrap and freeze for when needed during the week.

I usually take leftovers or salad for lunch. The leftover part is easy but I can make up three days worth of salad, put in tupperware or ziplocs and have ready to go. And I can do the same with breakfast, I always take cereal, I can just have it measured out and ready to go.

in theory this all sounds great, just wondering if it really works. Guess the only way to find out is to try.
 

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Since you have a 4yr old could be a help. He can split up the snacks into smaller baggies.

I hang entire outfits on the hangers. No more looking through everything. Just grab the entire hanger. That makes clothes selection easier for all the family.

I also try to start or do a chore in the morning before I leave. Like start a load of clothes. Hang up one to dry that I washed the night before. Start/empty the dishwasher.

Every mom has a few tricks up her sleeve.
 

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It can be difficult until you find a routine that works for you. I usually make a soup and a casserole on Sunday. I take the soup for lunch during the week and the casserole will be for dinner for a few nights during the week. All you need to do is reheat it. I try to pack up the snacks and such into individual serivings when I come home from the grocery store, then it's all done. I have a snack drawer with them all in it and I just pick and choose for the day/week. As someone else mentioned, I also try to do just a little something in the morning whether or not it is starting laundry or unloading the dishwasher, just a quick thing, every little bit helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I didn't get a chance over the weekend to prep for the week the way I wanted, BUT I do have dinner in the crock pot now and I have dinner thawing for tomorrow. With two dinner's planned, I should have enough leftovers to last me the week for dinners and lunches so I shouldn't have to cook again, just reheat and be done.

Its a start.
 

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Some of the mom's I know lay out the family's clothes on Sunday. One mom has some sort of a 7 day thing (or maybe she uses tubs), but she folds and sorts the laundry into those containers. She even puts in socks and undies in there.

Another mom, plans out the meals. Then, she boils the noodles, cooks the rice, cuts up the onion, or whatever else she needs to do on Sunday. She also makes double batches of things that freeze well, like rice. She will freeze the extra for a week where she doesn't have time to do the prep. She also makes a big pot of soup or a big casserole (or lasagna) and freezes half for those bad weeks. Side note: Potatoes and noodles don't freeze well for long periods of time. She said that she will make double batches of soups or casseroles with frozen noodles or potatoes, but they are pulled out of the freezer the next week or the week after to keep them tasting ok. I guess there are texture changes.
 

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I totally understand where you are coming from. Just be careful, because I ended up gaining so much weight from having dinner late. I use my crockpots a lot!! I have 3 of them. One I use to cook my beans. I use those a lot. The other I boil eggs in, or make a custard for breakfast, even make frittata. I of course make many dinners and it saves me so much time!!
I also brown a big amount of ground beef. I freeze it. I use it for spagetti, tostada meat, fried tacos and mix it up with some veg all veggies. Oh and the kids like Enchiladas of course. I make mine the traditional way, on the skillett and does not take to much time at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yesterday I actually had the time to cook dinner for yesterday, cook dinner for today, prep my lunches and snacks for the week and think about what I can throw in the crock pot for dinner tomorrow.

I can't tell you how excited I am!!!

Also, I'm really not good at meal planning so I just picked up a tip where you right down what you make for dinner every day for about a month and well, there is your meal plan. I have about 6 days on the list so far.

My son started kindgergarten and has started bringing home homework so I really need to focus on the meal planning. I just don't have the time to make dinner and do homework. Hopefully this will also take the stress off of me and I'll be able to interact with him, rather than just bark orders.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
just another update on how I'm doing.

Two weeks in a row I've been able to prep my breakfast, lunch & snack for the entire week.

I've also been using new crockpot recipes I've found on FV and life at home is alot less stressfull.

Taking 30 minutes on sunday to do this has freed up so much time during the week that I do have time to sit with my son, do his homework and actually read him a story. YEAH!!!!
 

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Good job Frugal-Is_Fun - You're getting the hang of it. When my son was younger, Sunday was a BIG prep day for everything. Clothes, food, paperwork, bills, errands. For a LOOOONG time, I was working Saturdays as well so Sunday was the Get-R-Done day and it went a long way in making for an easier week. Keep us posted!
 

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I'm glad for you, Frugal is Fun! I'm the single mom of an almost 21 yo DS. I've been a single mom since he was about 4, so I totally understand your frustration. I'm glad things are coming together for you.

It takes a bit of organization at first, but you're right, the prep time more than makes up for it in the quality of time you get to spend with DS.

As you get more into a routine, you'll figure out more ways to stretch your time.

But once upon a time, I too was feeling very stressed and at the end of my rope. A very wise person told me: Let others help you. When you don't ask for help, you deny yourself the blessing but more importantly, you deny *them* the blessing of having helped you. Let them!

Even though you are a single mom, if you look around, you may be able to find people (church, neighborhood, club, etc.) who would be more than willing - no, they would consider it a blessing - to help you.
 

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Sounds like you've got the hang of it! Yay! I always cook on Sundays. It's a little investment of time that makes a world of difference during a harried week. I will roast a whole chicken on Sunday, then cut up some watermelon and have chicken and watermelon for lunch. Other easy meals:

- pasta salad with low fat or ff mayo, chicken sausage cut up, carrots and peas
- nothing wrong with cereal like cheerios and bananas for dinner - healthy and quick
- put chicken in BBQ sauce in the slow cooker - voila BBQ chicken
- cut up carrots and fruit for quick health snack during the week; also keep raw nuts on hand - a handful of almonds or walnuts are great for you.
-BLT's for dinner with turkey bacon - healthy and easy.
- turkey/broccoli lasagna - freezes well, I double it, eat one now, freeze one
- put chicken in slow cooker and make chicken salad for sandwiches during the week - add raisins and walnuts
-egg salad
- scrambled eggs for dinner with spinach and feta
-make big batch whole wheat pancakes with walnuts - well rounded and you can freeze them, then pull out when you need. Or keep in fridge and pull out during the week for dinner
-chuck roast in slow cooker with carrots, potatoes and onion - use leftover beef for beef sandwiches
-use cook chicken to make easy paninis - just throw in some artichokes, tomatoes, cheese, basil - whatever you like - and grill
- cook chicken or ground beef on Sunday and nuke when you get home weeknights, throw into whole wheat tortillas with tomatoes, lettuce and cheese-healthy
-make nachos: just throw whole grain tortilla chips on a plate, add artichokes, black beans, top lightly w/cheese and nuke; top with tomatoes and lettuce; serve w/salsa.
-make a five-minute whole wheat pizza crust (look online). Throw on some pizza sauce, veggies and light cheese and cook for 15 minutes.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Now thats a whole list of stuff! Thank you!

ok, so my post is about a year old so time to report on how I'm doing.

The weekend is definitely food prep day. I don't have to worry about feeding my son as he is with his father, sitter or grandparents at meal time, so its just me. I make two large meals. I eat the same thing for lunch and same thing for dinner every day. I can deal with this AND it is saving me a TON of money on food! I divide the food into portions so I'm just able to grab from the fridge when making up my lunch and same thing for dinner. Just microwave and dinner is ready. I even portion out my cereal for the week so I can use those few extra seconds to actually breath!

And since all of my food is prepped and ready to go this leaves very little dishes for me to do on a daily basis which is also a huge time saver at the end of the day.

I still get home between 7 and 7:30pm so I have about 90 minutes with my son before he goes to bed.
 
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