Friday, November 11, 2011

Fighting Time Loss One Minute at a Time

We all know that kids are, like, the biggest time suck ever.  I'm not saying that's a bad thing.  I'm just saying what we all know as fact.  Take the runny nose incident of 2011.  (this is a real-life example from this morning)  What should have taken two seconds to do (wipe nose, throw away the tissue) actually took about 10 minutes.  It went something like this:  Oh, I see you have a runny nose.  Let me wipe that for you.  (Yes, just one of the many perks!)  Wait, why are you wrestling around?  Are you trying to escape?  Oh, you escaped.  Now there's snot on my sweater, your chair, and all over your face.  Aha!  I got you!  I am going to wipe your nose!  Wait!  Don't do it with your hand!  Ugh!  Now we have to wipe the smear off you nose, cheek, hands, my sweater, and the chair.  Let's go wash our hands.  Oops!  Try not to make the water spray everywhere.  Well, that's ok, I guess that's what towels are for.  No, that's all right, I don't mind that my sweater is snotty and wet.  Just so long as you don't get anything else on it.  Oh, no!  Don't put your soapy hands in your mouth.  Ewww!  Yucky.  I know why you're crying...soap is yucky!  It doesn't taste good.  That's ok, we can swish it out of your mouth with some clean water.  Wait, don't squirm out of my arms, you'll get hurt.  Ooh.  Are you ok?  It was just a little bonk.  Here, let Mommy kiss it.  All this crying made your nose run.  Here, let me wipe it for you...

Bam.  10 minutes of my life I will never get back.  See?  Even the easiest tasks become challenging when you partner with unwilling participants.

Does anyone ever ask you what you do all day?  How do you fill the time?  Nothing drives me crazier!  I am the CEO of this house.  I do EVERYTHING.  But how?  I'm going to write about some of my tricks and shortcuts that make up for the fact that I just killed ten minutes with something that started out as a nose wipe, and ended up as cleaning the bathroom and doing some laundry.

Let's start with my freezer.  Hands down, my favorite appliance.  The freezer saves me daily.  DAILY.  Yes, it's great for things like ice cubes and Popsicles.  Compared to how I use my freezer, that's child's play.  First, here's my mantra that I want you to start repeating.  Repeat it until it becomes a part of your inner-psyche. 

Cook once, eat twice.  (Go ahead and say it out loud.  It feels good.)

We're not talking leftovers, here (although, we have a fair share of those around here).  I'm talking about hard core freezer use.  When I cook, I like to make twice as much as I need, and freeze the rest.  I don't usually do entire meals, unless it's soups or stews.  Here are some things I always make and freeze:

  • Wild rice - it has long cooking time, and freezes nicely in a Ziploc freezer bag.  Keep it on hand as a last-minute side or throw into soup.
  • Pancakes and French Toast - I am famous for making double and triple batches.  These freeze and reheat amazingly well.  I like to defrost in the microwave, and then toast them in the toaster oven.  I use the weekends for making luxurious breakfasts, and serve the freezer stash during the week
  • Bacon - it's such a mess when you cook it, but it's so tasty.  Don't you wish you had some bacon on hand for a quick turkey, avocado sandwich?  Or to go with your eggs?  I cook up two or three pounds at a time and freeze it.  When I want bacon, I take it right from the freezer and pop it in a pan.  It doesn't make a lot of grease the second time around, and takes only a minute to heat through
  • Wine - (Did you just say wine??)  (Why, yes, I did!)  That's right!  Don't throw away that last little bit of wine that nobody will drink.  Pour it into a freezer bag and save it for the next time you make spaghetti - or need a quick pan sauce.  Again, it's one of those things I add frozen right into the pan.
  • Chicken broth - Not going to use the leftover bit of broth?  Don't throw it away!  It's expensive!  Measure it, then pour it in a freezer bag.  Don't forget to write the quantity on the bag.  Next time you need a bit of broth...there it is.
  • Bread - I always buy bread at Costco or when it's on sale at the grocery store.  I am not afraid to buy four loaves at a time.  They keep so well in the freezer, you would never know they were once frozen.
  • Cookie dough - I make a really fussy, yet incredibly worth it, chocolate chip cookie recipe from the NY Times.  It is quite a process.  I ALWAYS double this one.  I freeze the dough balls on a cookie sheet overnight, then store them in a freezer bag.  It's easy to bake fresh cookies at the drop of a hat.  Or give into that late night craving for a freshly baked cookie.
  • Spaghetti sauce, soups, stews, casseroles - these are the givens.  You can have a dinner ready in minutes with these staples in the freezer.  As long as you're making a pot of soup, might as well make twice as much, and serve it again in a few weeks.


  1. ROFL! Runny noses- gotta love 'em!Seriously though, I swear I can cook 5 times more french toast and bacon than we need and still my family eats it all in one sitting. Family favorites just never seem to make it into our freezer. Loving the wine idea! ;)