Did you know that if you eat at home 7 days a week for three meals, you are eating 21 meals a week at home? If you are the mom fixing said meals, you are cooking 21 meals a week. Now, that may not be reality for everyone’s family, but it is pretty close for me.
Because we homeschool, my kids eat lunch, you guessed it, at home. And because we do not eat out often for multiple reasons we hit pretty close to that number. Let’s just say we average about 19 meals at home a week.
Yes, the older girls occasionally cook, and yes, my boys can make their own sandwiches, but because of the makeup of our home, I am the primary cook in our house. Again, three meals a day, 7 days a week.
It does get old occasionally. And in this season of our life I have grown a tad weary. I knew I needed a plan and sending the kids to public school just so someone else could fix their lunch was not really an option. Not that it wasn’t tempting.
Dinnertime for us equals family time, so breakfasts became my targeted change.
Here is how it has played out and how I am now surviving breakfast.
I wrote down menu choices that my kids like. Three days of the week have a choice between two similar items and two days are cereal days. I will get to weekends in a minute, promise. The method behind the madness was this – if I let my boys, ages 13 and 8, choose everyday on their own what to eat, they would choose cereal. I do not like cereal. Well, actually, I do like cereal, but I cannot stand how expensive it is, how fast my kids can go through one box, or the fact that it is not very nutritional. Hence the 2 day limit!
Next, I put the choices on a chart with boxes for each boy and laminated the chart. (You KNOW how much I love charts!) It hangs on the refrigerator where each morning they choose from the list in any order they want, and check off what they had.
Here is the key:
Each of the choices is pre-made by me and in the freezer for them. All they have to do is pull it out of a bag in the freezer, pop it in the microwave for a minute, and eat. They work as a team, have a good breakfast together, and are learning a little independence, while I have an extra hour by myself in the morning for work.
Instead of cooking each morning, while I am already cooking on Saturday morning, I batch cook and freeze. I originally thought I would do so every Saturday, but what I have found is that because they have a choice between two similar things, there is plenty in the freezer to last two weeks! Yay me! Cooking time so far has only been about an hour each time.
I felt slightly guilty for about a day, yes, it was short lived, concerning the fact that I was not eating with them, but since I eat every lunch and dinner with them, I got over myself quickly. 16 meals together is surely better than none!
Saturday and Sunday meals are prepared by me and are pretty standard – eggs and bacon on Saturdays (which dad will take back over when he returns) and Sundays are usually a breakfast casserole or coffee cake.
So what do their menu choices look like?
- Waffles or Pancakes
- Cereal (2 times)
- Biscuits (ham and egg, and sausage) or Bagels
- Muffins or Banana Bread and fruit
Notice there are several things missing that you could do as well:
- French toast
- Toast and jelly
- Cinnamon toast
Yes, I did not mention my girls. Because of their ages and their crazy schedules, plus allergies added in, they have been on their own for breakfast for a while now. I promise I am not starving them.
It is that easy! Promise. There was no rocket science involved – just a tired momma trying to find a better solution! No one has starved, there have been no kitchen disasters to date, and I am surviving breakfast! And getting some work done too!
A win-win, wouldn’t you say?