Happy Tip Tuesday! Today, I am sharing a few tips I learned the hard way. My mom made it look so easy to get dinner on the table. While I was growing up, she did it every day and she had 4 kids. Now that I have 2 of my own little ones, I have discovered the crazy and very real time deemed the “witching hour.” Who knew babies and toddlers go crazy from 4-5:30pm!
1. Plan for Multiple Interruptions
Instead of planning enough time for one interruption, plan enough time for 2-3 interruptions. Try to have a set time when you start dinner, no matter what you’re making. A consistent start time that leaves you some wiggle room will help offset problems when inevitably something goes wrong. That wiggle room is crucial, especially when you have preschoolers running around while you are trying to focus on getting dinner on the table.
When I leave myself enough time, I don’t get as frustrated when the interruptions happen. One night last week, I had both girls pee on the bathroom floor (they have both been potty trained for a while, mind you) and one of my daughters decided to scribble with a purple dry erase marker on almost every surface in their room.
2. Prep in the morning after breakfast, after lunch or even the night before.
Think about what you are having tomorrow night for dinner while prepping for tonight’s meal. What can you do more of now to make tomorrow’s meal easier? Could you grate more cheese, throw a squash in the oven while the casserole is cooking, chop carrots for 2 nights from now? If you are home for lunch and chopping some type of fruit or veggie, it is easy to reuse the knife to chop whatever veggies you are having for dinner later that night.
3. Fill the sink with water while cooking
This is not a new concept, but it is amazing what a difference it can make in your prep and clean-up. While you are eating dinner pans can soak. And when you’re done eating, clear the table right into the sink while you are putting away food, or making lunches for tomorrow. Your plates are soaking and then can go right in the dishwasher or get hand washed with less elbow grease needed. A simple step can make a big difference.
Of course none of this will get that marker off of the wall, but it will keep you much calmer as you scrub.
What are your best tips to help get dinner on the table? Do you have any witching hour stories of your own? Any freezer meal/once-a-month cooking mammas?