It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving break. Time to get back to reality. School, work, week nights, and now the extra madness called “the holiday season.” I had great intentions of using the break to get so many things done in between the awesome family time we had.

{"focusMode":0,"deviceTilt":-0.02485984191298485,"whiteBalanceProgram":0,"macroEnabled":false,"qualityMode":3}Side note: We visited wonderful family in Austin. The boys love their cousin time, and my hubby & I don’t have all of the stresses & chores if we were home. I decided it would be productive to take Connor on a college tour since he’s supposed to be deciding the rest of his life in his junior year. We went to my hubby’s Alma mater, University of Texas @ Austin (UT Longhorns) & spent an hour & a half to tour probably 20% of the campus.


Does anyone else dread the clock striking 5:00 (or 6:00), and knowing the family needs to be fed, there’s homework to be done, activities/meetings to go to, and you would really rather NOT?!! The one looking forward to it the most I am sure is the dog, Rex. He is always so appreciative of his dinner (and belly rubs), which takes in a whopping 30 seconds to devour.

Anyone that knows me probably realizes I HATE HATE HATE cooking. I can’t stand dinner time preparation. When 5:00 rolls around, I dread trying to come up with WHAT to make for dinner. I wish Alice from the Brady Bunch could come live with us. She would know each of our likes & dislikes, have gone to the grocery store, & would have dinner ready to just whip in the oven at 5:00…or better yet, have the table all set & dinner ready to eat (sigh). Yes, my family usually eats early. My hubby has lunch at 11:15 am, so by the time 5:30-6:00 is here, he is ravenous. Actually, if I think about it, Connor (my HS junior)’s lunch time is at 10:12 am. That is NOT a typo. They should really call it brunch. There seems to always be those “activities” and plenty of homework to go around in the evenings as well. What we really enjoy doing is having homework done, dinner & then getting to plop down on the reclining sofa, turn on our family’s favorite shows & literally kick back for 45 minutes. I now count watching The Flash & Arrow as quality family time (two nights a week seems like such a splurge). Many times, this is the only time we are together. We do almost always have dinner together, except during marching band season (August, September, October & a little November). Just remove that time period from anything called “normal.” If you are or have even been a band mom, you “know” exactly why I exclude that time from normal.

I follow a few blogger people because they give me inspiration, show me pretty pictures, and sometimes even tips that help. The Girl Who Ate Everything is one of my favorite bloggers. She has some amazing ideas. I ran across this great weekly Meal Planning section, and am excited to see some form of a plan that could actually help with the dreaded 5:00 hour.  There’s a general cuisine theme for each night of the week, plus the bonus of some amazing looking recipes for these nights. You could go through all of the other weeks to get great inspiration, too.









There are some amazing recipes on here! Did it entice you? Was there a favorite? Will you use any of these tips? It’s Monday morning, and I would like to say “Yes! I will start tonight!” but it’s Monday night. Connor & Logan are in the school musical with the band & orchestra, and have rehearsal until 5:00. My hubby is teaching karate at 6:15. That leaves a whopping 30 minute window if we were to have dinner together, not to mention my taxi driving service & the logistics of getting dinner ready by 5:20. In other words, this will not be the night to try & have a nice dinner. Last night was pork tenderloin. I consider that a score for the week. Don’t start thinking I actually took the time or know how to make a pork tenderloin taste delicious. It was a pre-marinated peppercorn tenderloin from Kroger. This is my level of cooking that qualifies for the “nice” family dinner category. I’ll take it. But if anything, scrolling through the amazing looking recipes & photos makes me happy & inspires me for a bit.

Do you have some great & easy ways to take on the dinner time dread? Have a wonderful Monday!!


~Chris Ann