“Really, Haley? A better mom?” you ask. Folks, I’m serious. Here’s the deal: 4-5pm, when I’m trying to prepare dinner, also happens to be the hour of the day that my kids suddenly NEED me. Baby Lucy decides that not being held is some kind of baby torture and grabs my ankles and bawls. Any other time of the day I would gladly just scoop her up but when I’m sautéing onions in hot bacon grease or chopping veggies, I figure that a crying baby is more attractive option than a scalded baby that’s missing fingers. And my 3-year-old who has been playing happily suddenly needs: a snack, snuggles, a book read to him, a dance party, his nose wiped, “softer pants,” the inexplicably bothersome tag cut out of his undies, you name it. My inability to attend to him at that moment inevitably leads to a full-blown toddler meltdown.
But as an unfailingly patient soul and ever-tender mother I would never ever lose my cool and gripe, bark, or yell at my kids. Phrases like “I ONLY HAVE TWO HANDS!” or “CAN’T YOU JUST HOLD ON ONE SECOND?!” would never pass my meek lips. Ahem. Right before dinner was usually when my mothering fails occurred. Often, I would just have to stop everything to attend to my bebes and wait until Daddy got home to give me a hand—pushing our dinner time way too close to bathtime and bedtime.
Just as I was contemplating how to solve my problem, some friends of ours moved to Nepal and gave us their slow cooker and my friend Stephanie of Mama and Baby Love came out with an eCookbook of real food slow cooker freezer meals. Until I got my hands on a copy of her book I had (wait for it) NEVER USED A SLOW COOKER. Seriously. Ever. In my head they were only used for recipes comprised of cans of condensed soups and processed food that I don’t feed my family. But I looooove this cookbook! Holy cow, I love it so much! I’m just working my way through her healthy, real food recipes. My favorite so far is Peanut Stew and Daniel’s is the Chicken Curry.
And get this, the eCookbook, From Your Freezer to Your Family: Slow Cooker Freezer Meals, is created so that you do all the prep work ahead of time, stick the ingredients in a plastic bag in the freezer and then just dump the contents into the slow cooker in the morning and voila: dinner.
So, 4pm rolls around and wonder of wonders, I haven’t transformed into a screaming banshee of maternal failure by 5pm. We can eat as soon as Daddy walks in the door leaving us more time to play and enjoy each other before the kiddos hit the sack. We’ve initiated a new tradition of weekly Family Movie Night complete with popcorn and snuggles—something we never had time to do in the evenings before.
So, check out Stephanie’s eCookbook! It is only $9.99 and oh so good. She has shopping lists of the ingredients and a great introduction about real food and healthy eating. We’ve easily adapted the recipes to use whatever is being harvested from our garden and usually we don’t add as much meat as the recipes call for to save a few bucks and they’re still awesome!
(Links to the MBL eCookbook are affiliate links)