Tricks for Banishing the WITCHING HOUR

TEH-witchinghourMy eyes glance at the clock. My breathing starts to speed up and my heart starts to race. It gets harder to breathe…..My muscles tighten and then I hear the garage door open. Hyperventilation. Panic.

Don’t get me wrong….I LOVE my kids. LOVE them. I honestly believe…..

“Children are an heritage of the Lord and . . . happy is the man [and woman] that hath [their] quiver full of them” (see Psalm 127: 3-5 ).

And boy do I have a quiver full,….thankfully. And I absolutely agree with Ezra T. Benson, who said,

“Yes, blessed is the husband and wife who have a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice. To have those sweet spirits come into the home is worth practically any sacrifice.”

Although many would try to convince me to be somewhere else, to get a job and avoid this trying block of time, as a mother and homemaker, I know the importance of this: “First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going–when they leave and return from school–when they leave and return from dates–when they bring friends home.” (Ezra T. Benson, To the Mothers In Zion, Feb. 1987)

I KNOW this is where I’m supposed to be. But I still inevitably suffer from being at the crossroads, also known as

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Every day about 3:15 p.m., I suffer from extreme anxiety and overwhelm and stress. It lasts until about 8 p.m. EVERY WEEK NIGHT.

The kids come in and they don’t say hi, they say “what can I eat?” And bless their hearts, they all want to talk to me at the same time and tell me about their days, and lists of things they need me to spend $$$$ on, and things they WANT me to spend $$$$ on. And homework, and reading, and dinner, and choir concerts and church youth group meetings, and visiting and home teaching, and on, and on, and on……

Is it a rough time of day for you, too? Rough might be downplaying it, yeah? And while Xanax is lovely when needed, taking it every single night…..not a good thing.

Here’s a few ideas that have been helpful for me, and hopefully will be helpful for you, to get through the Witching Hour….who knows, maybe you’ll avoid it all-together.

TEH-menuPlanMenu Planning: I shop once a month, which is hard sometimes, but that’s what works for us. So it is essential…ESSENTIAL that I have a meal plan. So I sit down once a month and plan out what we will eat. In addition, I have 15 meals (times 6) that I have stuff on hand for all the time (more about that in another post coming soon).

PM Planning: I find it really helps if I look at what is going on the next day, before I go to bed. It helps me carve out my time to prep, so that I can avoid that witching hour.

TEH-AMPrepAM Prep: I like to do as much meal prep as I can in the morning, when things are quiet, and my little XY is doing his online preschool work. Whether it’s getting all the ingredients chopped and measured, and assembled, or putting a meal in the crock pot to be done when dinner rolls around, I find the more I can do in the morning when things are slow, the easier it is on me later in the day.

 

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Bulk Cooking/Bulk Prepping: When I go to the store and come home with a ten pound bag of carrots, but best thing for me to do is chop, slice, (etc) that whole bag, then and there. Not only does that make my day-to-day easier, but I (and the minions) end up eathing alot more veggies if they are prepped and ready to go. In all honesty, this doesn’t always happen, BUT when it does….things go much better.

Prep ahead Veggies, Prepping and freezing in portion sizes, Home Canned Beans, Frozen Cookie Dough Balls, Home Canned Chicken Stock

Homestore: Having a home store means I have the ingredients for at least 15 meals on hand at any given time. I am working on having three months worth of foods we regularly eat on hand so I can provide in times of economic hardship, or some other disaster, or simply just have what I need for a quick meal so I don’t have to run to the store. Some of the meals on my list are: Spaghetti, Hawaiian Haystacks, Homemade Pizza, Burritos, Fried Rice, Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Macaroni & Cheese, and more.

 

IMG_4237Mixes: Having my own “convenience foods” ready to go makes meal time so much easier. Not only can I control the food we eat, but I can do most things cheaper than their grocery store counterparts.

Pancake Mix , Instant Oatmeal Mix, Muffin Mix, (if you’re doing “Breakfast for Dinner”), Pizza Sauce and Seasoning Mix, Cream of Anything Soup Mix, Tortillas, Bouillon

TEH_BCN1Freezer Meals: By bulk cooking and freezing the extra in portion sizes, I can have meals ready to go in the freezer that just require a few minutes in the microwave, or can go from freezer to oven in a snap.

Bean & Cheese Burritos, Homemade Chicken Nuggets, make and freeze Homemade Pizza Dough,

TEH-tomatobasilsoup1Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less:  Something quick and easy, with few ingredients like Tomato Basil Soup which is awesome with grilled cheese sandwiches, helps make dinner quick and easy, and lets us get on with the rest of the evening crazy.

TEH-MIJvarietyMeals In Jars: Taking an hour or so on a slow day to put ingredients together in a jar, makes dinner come together in 20 minutes.

Prepping Meals in JarsSouthwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Summer Porridge,

TEH_scHamPot_8Crockpot/Pressure Cooker: Slow Cooker Ham & Potatoes, Rosemary Chicken, Turkey Breast, Roasts, Dry beans…..all things that can be cooked in a fraction of the time in a pressure cooker, or cooked on low heat all day in a slow cooker, for spectacular mealtime results.

By using these tricks, I can focus on what’s really important FOR ME as a mother and a homemaker. Being at the crossroads. Because I am a mother who knows how important it is for me to overcome my anxiety and be there for my children. Finding ways to eliminate and avoid stress during the Witching Hour is one way that I try to make peace and preparedness a part of my every day life.

What things do YOU do to avoid the crazy stress of the Witching Hour?

 

DIY Food: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Don’t you love convenience? I really love convenience….

There is a certain canned soup company that was part of my cooking repertoire almost daily until a couple of years ago. Their condensed soups made cooking quick and easy. But once you start reading labels, there’s no going back, and I now make my cream of soup mix and use it anytime I need Cream of Mushroom, or Cream of Chicken soup.TEH_creamofsoup3

I didn’t have a convenient substitute for the  condensed tomato soup, until recently, so we stopped eating all the recipes we used to have that used it.  I never loved the condensed tomato soup….it was too sweet and wimpy in flavor, so I am THRILLED that Thrive’s Tomato Sauce Mix is bursting with flavor, doesn’t have the “sweet” taste and is in my Home Store…yep, keep it in my pantry.sauces-tomato_1Sometimes, you don’t want (or have the time) to spend hours slaving over the hot stove. You’ve got a million different directions you’re running and need dinner on the table ASAP. This is a great “kid approved” dinner you can have on the table in 20 minutes or less (I say less, because if you don’t have 8 people in your house, it’ll probably take you a lot less time that it does in our house).


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Serves 4-6
Printable Recipe Card

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup Thrive Tomato Sauce Mix (NOT Tomato Powder)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups whole milk, Half & Half, or cream (I prefer a mix of whole milk and Half & Half)
  • 1 tablespoon Thrive Freeze Dried Basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in sauce pan. In the meantime, combine Tomato Sauce Mix, basil, and garlic powder in a bowl.
  2. When water reaches a boil, whisk sauce mixture into the boiling water.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer and whisk 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add cream, Half & Half, or whole milk, and salt and pepper to taste, and heat through. Add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

*To make a more hearty soup, add a tablespoon or two of any or all of the following: Thrive Sausage Crumbles, Thrive Chopped Spinach, Thrive Freeze Dried Chopped Onions, or Thrive Zucchini.

**If you’re making this 100% from your Home Store, you can substitute 1/2 cup Thrive Instant Milk Powder, 2 cups water, and 1 tablespoon Thrive Butter Powder for the whole milk/cream/Half & Half

Serve with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches or a handful of saltine crackers for a delicious and easy meal.


What is YOUR favorite quick and easy “kid approved” meal? Have you had to make any changes to it, in order to make it healthier?

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I look forward to your comments!