We are deep in the midst of summer. Nate spent last week at home with me while his daycare provider took a week off, and it was pretty great to be home, just the two of us, together every day. It was also challenging in some ways.
Because I work from home and Nate goes to daycare during the day, I am usually able to get all of the various errands, housework and other domestic tasks done that need to get done, as well as the work that I need to accomplish. Having a busy three and a half-year old at home last week made this juggle a bit tricky. I’m not sure I finished any task from start to finish. The kitchen remained a disaster area for a full week! It seemed like every time I finished cleaning up after one meal, it was time to mess the kitchen up with another.
I got to thinking about some of the ways I could save time in the kitchen during the summer months, and I’ve come up with this list of five of my favorite summer kitchen time savers for busy moms.
1. Put together a snack basket to keep in the pantry. A friend of mine recommended this idea several months ago and I’ve decided to implement it. Use baggies to put together a bunch of different kid-friendly snacks such as trail mix, goldfish crackers, raisins or cookies. Keep the snacks in the cupboard at a height the kids can reach. When they ask for a snack, instead of struggling to find something appropriate in the pantry, allow the kids to choose one of the snacks from the basket.
2. Keep vegetables cut up in the fridge. They can be used as a side dish with some meals, ingredients for a salad, a snack for kids or in our case, or for taking a packed lunch to work.
3. Keep a box of wine in the fridge. I’m totally serious. It takes up less space because it’s tall and you don’t have to worry about using a cork screw to open wine at dinnertime. Pouring a glass of wine takes only a few seconds when the box is ready to go in the fridge, and it’s always on hand for summertime guests who pop over.
4. Take an hour on a Sunday afternoon to plan out the week’s meals. Shop accordingly.
5. When the weather is hot, forget about turning on the stove. Plan a deli night. Pick up some crusty buns, deli meats, potato salad and dill pickles. Everyone can make his or her own sandwich and fill up on a cool dinner that is just perfect for summer.
What are some of the ways you save time in the kitchen during the summertime, when the kids are underfoot?