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Work-Life Balance

Spend One Day Cooking Per Month

One of the most difficult things for a working mom to juggle is preparing fresh, healthy meals each night after a long day at work. It is very important for families to enjoy their evening time together, so why should mom be stuck chopping and prepping in the kitchen?  She should be able to come home from work and enjoy her family as much as possible.

With some preparation and dedication of one weekend afternoon per month, busy moms can cut out the stress that comes with nightly meal preparation.  In one afternoon, you can prepare a month's worth of dinners that your family will love. You will likely also save money, as well as time, with this growing trend in meal preparation.

This cooking method works best with a crock pot. You can prepare meal ingredients ahead of time to cook in a regular pot, but using a crock pot allows you to set it up in the morning before you leave and return home to a fresh, delicious, hot meal that you can enjoy immediately.  

Crock pots vary, but it is recommended that you use one that can be set with a timer, so you don't end up burning your meal if your day is longer than expected.  Some crock pots can be programmed to turn off or switch to a warm setting within a certain time.  Using this type of crock pot, your meals will always come out perfectly.

Next you will need 30 1-gallon sized freezer bags.  Each meal will packaged and frozen until the day you are ready to eat it. Once you have decided on the cooking method and tools, you will have to find a variety of recipes.  Yes, you can make several meals with the same ingredients, but if you don't throw in some variety, you and your family are sure to get bored with the meals quickly.

Start with the meats. You can choose to use pork, chicken, and beef.  Of course, you can always make vegetarian meals, is that is your thing.  About a half pound of meat goes a long way when mixed with other ingredients. Depending on your recipe, you may use more or less meat.  Place meat in each freezer bag.

Next pick your starch. Rice works really well in crock pot meals.  You can add 1 cup rice and 2 cups water to the bag with your meat in it for a meal that will feed 4 - 6 people.  Some pastas will also work nicely. Pasta requires less water. This is where finding recipes will help you measure the right amount of ingredients.  Potatoes is another starchy favorite. If using potatoes in your crock pot meal, keep in mind they may turn to mush.  This is not always a bad thing.  Follow a recipe, if you can.

Don't forget the vegetables!  You should always incorporate vegetables into your meals. Green beans, corn, asparagus, or whatever you like can be put into the freezer bag and will be cooked to perfection along with your meal. Some vegetables are better left you, however, so steaming some brocoli to go with your meal may be in order on some nights.  Plus, a fresh crisp salad or coleslaw is always a great meal companion. This is your creation, so you plan the meal. The point is to make it easier, so try to keep that in mind while planning the meals.

Remember to throw in some salt, pepper, and other spices to your freezer bag ingredients before calling them done.  Once you have all of the ingredients in your 30 freezer bags, seal them up tight and stick them in the freezer.  It will take up less room than you think.  Each day, before leaving for work, open a freezer bag into the crock pot and set it to cook for the specified time on the recipe. Some will only take 6 hours and some will be able to tolerate 10 hours. When you get home, the house will smell delicious and the meal will be ready to eat.

You will save time and money planning and preparing meals ahead of time.  Hopefully, this has been inspirational and you are already beginning to look up recipes and making your shopping list.  Enjoy!

 

Best Industries for Working Moms

Juggling a career is always tough when you also have the job of being Mom. These careers are the most flexible and "mom-friendly", based on schedule flexibility and pay.

Education - Moms who are teachers can have the same schedule as their school children. What's better than having the summers off to spend making memories at the beach or camping trips? 

Online Marketing - Working from home managing websites and social media has recently shot to the top of the list of jobs for moms. This type of work can be done at all hours of the day or night, leaving mom available for the family.

Temporary Work - Sometimes a job before the holidays is all it takes to keep the family finances in the black. Instead of focusing on a career, some moms are taking temporary employment to fill in the gaps.

Customer Service - Another possible at-home job that may be less flexible than the online marketing, but still allows mom to work from home. This type of job may still require after school day care for mom to finish up her working hours before the kids come home and need her attention.

Law - Higher paying jobs, like lawyer, allow moms to outsource household duties easier. Who would make a better lawyer than mom?

Manufacturing - Some of the highest paying jobs for women are in the manufacturing field. Again, with higher pay, mom can outsource responsibilities such as cleaning and child care, leaving her the freedom to work as much as needed.

Real Estate - Entrepreneurial women enjoy being their own boss and the real estate field will allow them to do that. Moms can show houses and be a professional on their own time clock, still bringing home decent pay.

There are many talented women in our communities that choose to stay home with their young children and are ready to go back into the work force by the time the kiddos go to school.  There are may obstacles keeping women from going back to work, but with some thought into which industry is the best fit, they can find a way to succeed.