Job, kids, house, spouse, and the list of obligations goes on and on. You’re not the only one to feel overwhelmed and even sometimes inadequate to handle it all.
Here are a few ways of preparing for and handling things that crop up so you can save time and money when you need real solutions, fast.
Solution: Stop at a drug store or quickie mart and grab a bag of chocolate chip cookies. Kids love any cookies. They don’t have to be homemade. Some schools don’t even allow homemade treats and only permit store-bought ones due to concerns for students with food allergies.
Problem: Unable to squeeze in a beautician appointment before a big event and hair needs colored badly
Solution: Buy a box of Superior Preference by L’Oreal and use it tonight. You’ll spend less than $10 and 30 minutes.
My online research shows that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of women color their hair. I tend to believe the larger percentage since I don’t know too many women who don’t color their hair (and I include those who have professional “highlights” put in).
Look around your church or office and I challenge you to find the ones, without prior knowledge, who have professional color or highlights done vs. those who color at home using something like Preference by L’Oreal.
Problem: Too tired or time crunched to make dinner for the family
Solution: I’m not a big fan of fast food. It’s not a healthy choice for anyone in my family, least of all the kids. During the past three months, however, my family had a lot of serious stuff going down, and I found myself buying McDonald’s food on a semi-regular basis. I probably bought McDonald’s food more times during the past three months than in the previous three years combined.
For $11.99, you can get a McDonald’s Dinner Box, which includes two Big Macs, two cheeseburgers, four small fries and a 10-piece chicken McNuggets with two sauce packets of your choice. For myself, I get two jalapeno burgers ($2 each) and eat them without the bun. The Dinner Box is way more than my husband and two kids can even eat, but it’s still a heck of a deal. For me, I consider it a “sometime treat” for when I’ve no time or energy to even think about preparing food.
What other people feed their kids is their own business, but I don’t feel like the occasional Mickey D’s will harm an otherwise healthy child. Kids will not always have home cooked meals. I like to cook and prefer to make real food, but my girls prefer just about anything but a home cooked meal.
My 10-year-old’s absolute favorite meal is ramen noodles, something her younger sister enjoys as well. Apparently, she’s doing some early prep work toward life as a college student.
If you totally object to any fast food or prepared food, you’ll need to stock up on freezer meals. Money Saving Mom often posts great lists of make-ahead freezer meals. If you’re okay with some quick meals to avoid the temptation of the fast food drive through, keep some of these on hand (depending on what your kids like):
- Ramen noodles
- Frozen pasta such as Crazy Cuizine
- Canned ravioli or ABCs and 123s with meatballs
- Refrigerated pasta such as Three Bridges
- Chicken noodle soup
- Tomato soup
- Frozen pizzas (kids especially like Tony’s or Totino’s)
- Hidden veggies pasta
- Ingredients to make grilled cheese sandwiches
- Turkey hot dogs
- Frozen chicken nuggets
Problem: Frequently hungry between meals, but no extra time at work
Solution: If you need low carb snacks, keep fat-free yogurt, low-fat cheese sticks and/or hard boiled eggs in the office fridge. Any of these are fantastic even if you’re not counting carbs. They fill you up and keep you from getting that peckish feeling for several hours.
Those who aren’t concerned with carbs can add a Slim-Fast to this list, in one of the high protein varieties. One of these babies will taste great and should stick with you for at least a couple of hours. If your office has a spigot for boiling water, you might also consider keeping a few noodle bowls in your desk.
Problem: Can’t remember birthdays
Solution: Add birthdays and other special occasions to your Google Calendar and have it send you email reminders. Buy a selection of all-occasion greeting cards, so you always have cards on hand for unexpected events.
When you need birthday cards for family members (sister, brother, parents, etc.), visit Dollar Tree or Dollar General and stock up on all of the upcoming birthdays for the next six months.
Problem: No time for breakfast, or kids refuse to eat it
Solution: Keep some quickie breakfast items on hand, such as fat free or low fat yogurt, cheese sticks and instant oatmeal.
Many schools also serve breakfast at a very small cost, whether or not your family qualifies for free or reduced price lunches. Some kids aren’t hungry when they first wake up in the morning, but they might start feeling peckish when the get to school.
Problem: Nothing to pack in kids’ lunch boxes
Solution: Keep in mind that your kids have different standards than grown-ups do. My younger daughter likes a cold, leftover grilled cheese sandwich packed in her lunch occasionally.
For months, she only wanted Bumble Bee tuna salad lunch kits – little cans of tuna salad with crackers and a tiny spoon, available at Walmart for about $1 each. You can also find Starkist tuna salad packets at grocery stores and Walmart.
I pack the low-cal juice boxes (the ones that are essentially flavored water) and some fresh fruit or a GoGo Squeeze to go with it, or maybe a GoGurt. A few times, she’s requested cold, leftover pasta in her lunch and eaten it all. What sounds downright unappealing to me might seem like great food to a kid.