Pre-plating = the ultimate dinner prep

It’s 11:30 a.m. and I just finished making dinner.

Well, it didn’t require much effort — let’s be clear. I shoved a frozen meatloaf in the oven, worked for the 70 minutes it was cooking (and forgot about it completely, thank God for timers) and then yanked it out of the oven.

I stuck some rice and water in the microwave and let that cook while I was slicing up the meatloaf and putting it onto four plates. Then I scooped the rice onto each plate and tossed on a handful of still-frozen vegetables.

Guess which kid hates green beans, which kid eats like a bird, which husband won’t eat cauliflower, etc.

I covered each plate in plastic wrap, used a sharpie to write each person’s initial (since portion sizes, veggie preferences, etc. are all very different), stacked the plates and shoved them in the fridge.

In the 5 p.m. panic to get some food into us all of before Taekwondo, I’ll just need to retreat the plates. Bingo bango!

I work steadily from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday, but afternoons tend to be the busiest time for me because it’s (maybe?) when people suddenly realize they need to return a call/email and now things are urgent, etc. Wednesdays, I have learned, tend to be REALLY busy — and that’s the day the kids need to be out the door at 5:10 p.m., having already eaten dinner and gotten dressed.

I HATE having to try to make something at 4/4:30 on these days because what I NEED is to be working, still. And so … pre-plating to the rescue!

(Darling Husband will heat his plate later, since he wakes up just in time to scoot out the door to Taekwando. #shiftworklife)

I’ve written about this before, specific to lunches. (You know, so I could eat an actual lunch and not just starve and work and type and then stuff in a bowl of cereal and/or a granola bar at bus stop pick-up time.)

I know making dinner at lunchtime is something I can only do because I work from home, BUT! This isn’t a hack just for work-at-home types.

I did the same thing two nights ago — cooked chicken and noodles at 7 p.m. and then stuck it all in these cute sectioned containers* I bought off Amazon — because I knew I’d never, ever have time to make dinner with a full workday, driving the dance carpool and getting the kids ready for the choir/band concert.

I hate, hate, HATE cooking and this is still cooking (which I hate, as I mentioned) but at least it’s making dinner prep slightly more bearable, if only because I get to feel relieved that it’s over.

When lice invade your home, and head

When lice invade your home, and head {Heather's Handmade Life}

It’s 10 p.m. and I’m crying in the bathroom with greasy hair hanging over my eyes, madly combing over and over like a modern-day Lady Macbeth in leggings and an old T-shirt.

I have head lice. I’m freaking out.

My husband combed me out earlier after I applied the treatment, but now he’s at work and the kids are finally asleep and it’s just me, swiping at tears with my greasy fingertips and fumbling with the comb I can’t seem to put down.

Because you can’t call the neighbours over to help with something as horrifying as delousing. It’s gross and contagious and I guess this is who I am now — disgusting and greasy-headed, with a scarlet L (or is it a white one?) on my chest.

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When moms make time for dreams

I can scroll through years of photos, and the same ones keep showing up.

Badly-lit, boring pictures of laptops.

Sometimes it’s a laptop sitting on my knees, with taekwondo classes or dance practices happening in the background. Other times, it’s a laptop sitting on a table in the library’s kids’ section or the Quiet Room on the second floor where it’s so silent that I hate to even breathe.

It’s pictures of laptops set up in different areas of my house, laptops in the lobby of the rec centre, laptops in the hospital where I’m stuck for two hours getting an iron infusion.

I take these photos as reminders, as proof, that I’m always trying to get a little closer to finishing and publishing a book. The goal I’ve had since I was eight years old.

The writing itself is nothing new. I have been writing professionally since I graduated from journalism school in 2005. For 15 years, I joke that I have put words in or on just about everything: newspapers, magazines, websites, advertisements, blogs, videos, plays, even product packaging. Writing is my career, and I love it.

A book, though is different. Unlike most other forms of writing where you get paid pretty quickly for what you submit to an editor or a client, a book is something that only pays you if and when people buy it.

While some people are in the position to sit down and chip away on a book without bringing in any income in the meantime, we are not those people.

So what do I do?

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene …