I'm a mom. Like all moms out there, I always have at least 974 things going on at one time. Homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, planning meals, playing referee in arguments, never-ending laundry, washing dishes, more cleaning, paying bills, feeding chickens, feeding cats, catching the chicken who escapes from the enclosure 90 times a day, cleaning some more, reminding children to flush & wash hands, feeding a cricket (as of yesterday), exercising, running kids to various homeschool activities, rounding up library books, fixing broken toys, changing batteries, planning field trips - to name a few of the things I find myself doing day after day. When I finally have a moment to sit down and rest, here come the kiddos asking for a snack. With a heavy sigh, up I get and head out to the kitchen again. We've all been there.
So what's a mom to do? Let the kids go get their own snack, shoving grubby little hands into the bag of whatever, leaving it open to get stale, eating way more than they ought to and leaving crumbs all over the kitchen? I don't think so. I'd have to add cleaning to that list up above yet another time. Time to start the thinking wheels a'turning.
Today, I put my evil plan to have a little more down time for myself into action. Mwahahaha! Sorry. I got carried away for a moment. It's kind of exciting to think about having a little extra time to yourself!
So here is what I did.
First, I did pantry snacks. I sat down at the kitchen table with a box of snack size zip bags and a variety of packages of snacks. Then, I simply measured out individual portions into the bags. I neatly stacked the bags of snacks in a plastic shoebox container. In this box: individual serving packets of peanut butter; Udi's GF crisps; Annie's Cheddar Snack Mix; pretzel crackers; a homemade trail mix that has pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried berries (cran, straw & blue) and Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips; and lastly fruit leathers. Other options for the box: granola bars, tortilla chips, fruit & nut mix, beef jerky, rice crackers, snap pea crisps, nut thin crackers, granola & raisins, popcorn, homemade Lara bars, banana chips or homemade cookies as a special treat.
Next, I did refrigerator snacks. First, I had to clear a space in the fridge. I have to admit, I am not very good at keeping my fridge neat & tidy, so this added a little time to my initial prep time. After that, it didn't take long to get the rest done. The fridge snacks include: various fruits - oranges, peaches, apples, grapes and a kiwi; cut veggies - carrots and celery sticks; mozzarella cheese rounds; colby jack mini cheese sticks; and yogurt in little mason jars (the containers with the dry erase "y" on them because I also have cups of milk in the fridge and don't want them to get confused). Other options for the fridge snacks: olives, pickles, pepper strips, snap peas, hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, cooked sausage links (we love apple, maple chicken sausages), cucumbers, meatballs, fruit salad, melon balls, apple sauce, ham cubes, cauliflower, broccoli, chicken cubes or ham & cheese pinwheels (spread cream cheese on a slice of ham, top with a layer of spinach leaves, roll it up and cut into half inch long pieces).
Now, with just a little bit of prep time once a week, when the kids start begging me to get them a snack 9 seconds after I sit down, I can simply direct them to the snack section of either the fridge or pantry. They love the freedom of getting to choose what they feel like having from a number of options and I love getting to have a few extra minutes to sit and enjoy some quiet while they are eating. Wait, did I say quiet? Yeah, it's rarely quiet. Add reminding the kids not to talk (or sing) with their mouths full to that list up above.