#4 How do you handle busy activity days?

Here’s what I have been doing on my crazy schedule days.  Right now, we have practice for something 3 days a week.  One practice is from 5-6 so we do the pizza thing after practice.  I have the dough out rising while we’re gone and throw it all together as soon as we walk back in the door.  And this is all we have.  Pizza and drink.  No extras or sides.  2 days,  practice is from 6-7:30 and so I make sandwiches.  The sandwiches are made whenever I get to that “switch gears” mode (transition from one task to focus on getting things around and ready for the evening acitivities).  Some evenings I get to switch gears when the boys get home from school and have time for hamburgers or hot sandwiches.  I make them at that moment and wrap everyones in foil. On evenings when we are running behind or just don’t have time, we have cold sandwiches (lunchmeat, PBJ, etc) wrapped in a napkin.  That’s all we have- a sandwich and a drink.  Why do I wrap everything up?  So, if time runs short, we can grab our sandwich and eat it on our way out the door or in the car on the way there.
Crock pot meals don’t work for me when we have away from home activities because it’s not portable – unless you want the kids eating stew or chili in the car- lol!!!
If you are feeling guilty about the lack of nutrition- one, teach your kids to enjoy lettuce on their sandwich (start with one thin, little piece and work your way up).  Or when you get home after the busy evening, pass out some carrot sticks or a piece of fruit with a glass of milk as an unwind from the day treat.  There’s no reason the meal can’t be spread out into phases.  You don’t have to eat each meal balanced.  You could have Protein for breakfast, fruit and veggies for lunch, and Carbs for supper and it would still balance out for the 24 hour period. 
One day a week is game day.  Luckily, nothing starts until 2:00 and that gives me time to prepare a decent meal and prepare for the activity of the day.  Sometimes, we do not get back home until close to 6 and so we either take sandwiches with us or I plan for a quickie meal when we get back home (grilled cheese, ramen noodles, etc).  6 seems pretty early to arrive back home but think about it:  animals have not been fed, the kids may have homework to finish, they have been in the car or away for some time and need to unwind, etc.  Before you know it, it’s time for bed and supper’s not ready yet!
Back to the guilt thing- My busy season is in the fall- it is temporary.  Other people have certain busy days that are the same day of the week all year round.  But it’s only for a season!  For 6-8 weeks my kids eat on the run 3 days a week!  That’s only 24 meals out of 365 suppers!!!!  Even if it’s a year round busy day- that’s only 52 meals out of 365.  If you multiply by 3 meals a day- there are actually 1095 meals total for a year!!!
Here are some ideas and things to spy in the store on clearance/sale to keep on hand.
  1. cheese sticks (a cheese stick and a banana is very portable)
  2. dried fruit
  3. nuts
  4. granola bar (high calories but will tide you over)
  5. lunchables (on clearance ONLY- i bought the double sized ones the other day for a dollar each and they were still good for 2 weeks!-)
  6. ham and pepperoni (both stay fresh longer than other lunch meats- and can be used for a variety of things if you end up not needing them for supper on the go)
  7. hamburg/pork burger patties, frozen (kept frozen with double wax papers in between, they can be popped apart easily and grilled or broiled in under 10 min. from frozen)
  8. hamburger buns (buy on sale, freeze, thaw in 10-15 sec. in micro)
  9. peanut butter and jelly (can be made ahead and frozen- they thaw in minutes and are really yummy slightly frozen!)
  10. juice bags/boxes or invest in good reusable water bottles and teach the kids not to chew on the sports bottle lid (once chewed on, they leak) Keep some filled in the fridge at all times.
  11. bottled water- Meijer Spring Water is excellent and about 50% less than other brands.  Keep some in the fridge at all times but teach kids not to help themselves.  Only for supper on the go days.  The faucet is for everyday.
  12. Keep apples and bananas and grapes around all the time
  13. Keep baby carrots around all the time
  14. Keep 2 sizes of ziploc bags around- snack size and sandwich size- use the snack size to pre-package your nuts, dried fruit, grapes, etc so they are ready to go at a moments notice
  15. lunch boxes- they have them on clearance at Meijer right now-makes easier carrying for the kids to do it themselves and works as a temporary garbage can for the wrappers and things
  16. 6-pack sized soft-sided cooler- will hold drinks and sandwiches for a family
  17. re-usable freezer packs
  18. tote bag for each activity (watch garage sales for these if you don’t have enough) We have: large bag for soccer (holds ball, cleats, socks, shirt, shin guards, and room for water bottle) bag for football (holds ball, mouth guard, first aid kit, shirt, and room for water bottle) bag for drink duty ( holds the gallon cooler, 2 quart cooler, and plastic cups), and I will be making a cub scout bag shortly (will hold 3 neckerchiefs, 3 slides, 3 books, patches that need put on, etc- their shirts will have to be kept on hangers to keep them nice I suppose)
I hope you found this helpful!  Give yourself some credit!!!  And remember- if you’re late to something, you’re just late- that’s all.  It happens!  No one died, No one went “mad”- you’re just late. . .. . . If you have to do something last minute , just do it and make do.  Remember that the kids are capable of doing a lot of things themselves. When you are in a hurry would be a perfect time for them to show you!  If you’re driving back to home to get ready for an activity, talk to the kids while you’re driving about what they need to do the moment you walk in the door. 

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Filed under Home tips, Kid tips, survival tips for moms of school age children

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