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The Ultimate Checklist for Baby Prepping on a Budget

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The Ultimate Checklist for Baby Prepping on a Budget

Emily Graham, Mighty Moms

September 9, 2019

The baby is coming soon, and to say you have a lot on your mind is an understatement. You have checked the boxes off some of the common to-dos. The car seat is secured (studies show potentially up to 84 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly). You’re stocked up on the essentials, like diapers, baby shampoo, and formula. Your meal train is set and out-of-town visitors have made accommodations. You are almost ready, but there are other important considerations. Read on to learn more about what else you can do to complete your baby prep while sticking to a budget.

 

Try Prenatal Yoga

Not only will yoga help you build the mental strength you need to become a mother, it will also help prepare your body to manage the pain and discomfort of delivery. Taking a class is a great way to connect with other moms and be part of a support network, but you can also do prenatal yoga classes at home by using free YouTube tutorials or other free online videos.

Take a Babymoon

A babymoon is your chance to enjoy your partner, take it slow, and savor this last vacation. Keep it budget-friendly by looking into vacation rentals in the Austin area. Staying in a home with plenty of amenities—like a stocked kitchen and quick access to exciting activities—can make even a staycation feel special. When taking a staycation in Austin, you can choose a vacation rental in an area that allows you to explore new neighborhoods, like trendy Rainey Street or SoCo, or you may prefer to find a home near one of Austin’s many lakes where you can enjoy swimming and boating.

Wait on the Nursery

Nesting is a big part of preparing for your baby, but there are other ways to nest outside the nursery. Most mothers-to-be put a lot of focus on decorating the nursery, but many children never sleep in there for the first three to six months—and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting even longer. By the time you start sleep training, you will have learned some of your baby’s likes and dislikes, and can decorate the nursery based on his or her personality.

Take a Birthing Class

If you want a better understanding of what labor will be like, how to get your newborn to latch properly, or how to make your own baby food, then take classes. Often your health insurance plan will cover some if not all of the costs of child prep classes. If that’s not the case, check your local libraries and hospitals. Many offer these classes at no cost as a way to improve public health.

Ask Your Mom Friends

You’d be surprised by how many people are still holding on to the clothing, toys, and accessories that belonged to their now adolescent and teen kids. Reach out to your mom’s network to see if anyone has anything they would be willing to sell or give away. Always offer to pay something for the item; chances are your friend won’t charge you much or will straight up give them to you. Hand-me-downs are a really sensible way to save costs on both small-ticket and big-ticket items. From onesies to shoes, bottles to bassinets, and strollers to cribs, you can cut a lot of costs by accepting gently loved items from people you know.

Pre-Register at the Hospital

If you plan to deliver in a hospital, find out if you can submit your admission paperwork ahead of time. This will save you ample amounts of time and stress. Instead of having to fill out these forms in the midst of painful contractions, you’ll already be on file and ready to go straight into triage or delivery. Filling out your admission scores ahead of time doesn’t typically reduce any fees—but it doesn’t add any, either. For those who want to, you can also pay a portion of your projected fees upfront. 

There are a million things on your mind right now, which is why using this checklist can help you feel less overwhelmed and more accomplished. Having a baby is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and stay focused on a healthy delivery.

For more parenting tips, visit www.mightymoms.net

Easy Back to School Breakfast Hacks

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Easy Back to School Breakfast Hacks

Laura Standefer, Senior Breakfast Correspondent

September 2, 2019

Hooray! The school year has begun! For many of us, this means that are lives are a little more scheduled, and that we don’t have to worry about planning every moment of every day. However, we still need to help our kids prepare and plan for the school days that lie ahead. This includes making sure they get a good breakfast, which you may have heard, is pretty important. Here are a few breakfast hacks to make your mornings a little easier. 

1. Make Ahead and Stick in the Freezer. Meal prepping isn’t the most exciting activity, but it sure pays off on weekday mornings. There are several recipes that allow you to just heat and eat after you wake up, like these breakfast sandwiches or these ham, egg, and cheese burritos. 

2. Include Protein. Adding protein to your kid’s breakfast can help their attention span and memory. There are easy ways to include protein such as these no-bake breakfast energy bites. Dairy, eggs, lean meats, and nuts are also an excellent way to fuel up before school begins. 

3. Muffin Tins Aren’t Just for Muffins Anymore. There are so many Pinterest pins that can inspire you to use your muffin tins to make some delicious recipes. Breakfast is no exception and making things like these low-carb egg muffins can really change the game. Feel free to make them beforehand and just put them in the freezer. Stick them in the microwave and they’ll be ready in just 30-45 seconds in the morning. 

4. Include Something Your Kids Will Love. My son’s Paw Patrol waffles aren’t going to win any awards for most nutritional breakfast item anytime soon. However, if I include eggs, fruit, or bacon, I can rest assured knowing that he’s full and has received adequate nutrition that morning. Carbs and sugar based breakfast items alone are not the best way to start your day, but they can definitely be included when paired up with fruits and proteins.  

5. When in Doubt, Have A Pouch or Bar. There’s no shame if you end up having to just hand your kid a pouch or a bar. Nowadays, there are several great options such as Larabars and Happy Tot pouches with plenty of fruits and veggies to start their day.  Convenience isn’t always a bad thing, what’s important is that your child is happy, healthy, and fed! 

A Guide to Disney with a Special Needs Child

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A Guide to Disney with a Special Needs Child

Andrew Wan, Million Mile Secrets

June 10, 2019

Disney:  The happiest place on Earth.  It’s no wonder that kids always end up having a wonderful time at these parks!  And it’s super easy to save big on a trip there using rewards earned from the best travel credit cards. But if you’re a parent of a child with certain health or medical needs, you might be wondering if Disney parks can still be an enjoyable experience for them.  Fortunately, because of the care and accessibility Disney offers its guests, children with medical or health needs can absolutely have a fun and stress-free time at the park!

If you’re a parent of a child with a disability or health needs and are planning a trip to Disney, we’ll dive into everything you’ll need to know to ensure your child is able to experience the park to its fullest! It should be no surprise that Disney has been ranked by a number of sites as being the most accommodating theme park in the US.

Photo © Simon Cory  (cory.dk )

“The Magic Kingdom Can Be a Joyful Experience for Everyone, Regardless of Their Health Status!”

Disability Access Service (DAS) Pass

When it comes to theme parks, we all know it’s inevitable to have to deal with lines for various rides and attractions.  Depending on your child’s health needs though, waiting in long lines throughout the day may not be an option.  Fortunately, there is a solution!

Disney offers a Disability Access Services pass, or DAS for short.  With the DAS pass, you won’t need to actually wait in line for an attraction.  Instead, you’ll be given a return time.  After a return time is issued to you, not only will you not have to wait in line, you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the park!  It’s a great way for you and your child to make the most of their day, because you’ll still have a virtual spot in line at an attraction, and in the meantime still be able to meet characters, grab something to eat, or visit another ride or show!

In fact, one of my favorite YouTubers who goes by the handle “Chronically Jaquie” battles multiple chronic illnesses on a daily basis.  Yet that doesn’t stop her from living life to its fullest, including enjoying the Epcot theme park at Disney World!  She has documented many of her trips here and uses the DAS pass because it helps accommodate her disabilities.

The DAS pass is good for one return time.  Once redeemed, you can then receive a return time for another attraction.

If you think the DAS pass is something you’ll need, here are the steps to obtain one!

 

Obtaining a DAS Pass

Step 1.   Stop by a Guest Relations Main Entrance Location

Once you arrive at the park, stop by a Guest Relations Main Entrance location and let them know you’re interested in obtaining a DAS pass.  You won’t be able to obtain a DAS pass beforehand, so plan accordingly!

Note that everyone who will be accompanying the person with the DAS pass must be present!

Step 2.   Present Your List of Reasons a DAS Would Help

Inform the Cast Member(s) the reasons a DAS pass is needed.  Instead of telling them the specific health needs or disability your child may have, it’s more helpful to describe how waiting in lines negatively affects them.  So a few examples that might be helpful:

  • My child cannot stand in line for more than 5 minutes in this weather, otherwise they may pass out
  • My child has difficulty with loud noises, and standing in lines for too long could cause them to _____

If you’re told you’re not eligible for a DAS pass but you’re sure it would be beneficial, try explaining it in a different way.  I found a report online from a user named Adrienne who spoke with 2 different Cast Members and had 2 entirely different outcomes!  Her husband was initially denied a DAS pass and told to rent a wheelchair after explaining he had issues with balance when standing.  But after explaining that the wheelchair was a last resort, a 2nd Cast Member seemed to agree that asking an already-disabled individual to use less of their remaining abilities to qualify for a DAS pass simply didn’t make much sense.

Step 3.   Registration

Once the Cast Member determines a DAS pass would be beneficial, they’ll walk you through the registration process.

You’ll need to provide a valid ticket to the park and have your photos taken.  A Cast Member will then review the DAS process with you and have you sign to accept the terms and conditions.

DAS passes are valid for up to 60 days, so you won’t have to go through the registration process every single time if you’re planning multiple trips to the park within that time frame.

Preparations for Disability / Medical Needs

Depending on your child’s specific health or medical needs, taking precautionary and preparatory steps before your trip to Disney can make the whole experience much more enjoyable.  Fortunately, Disney offers a wide host of services to help you in this area!

Cognitive Disabilities

If you’ll be planning a visit to Disney and your child has any type of cognitive disability, like autism, there are a number of services to help you enjoy the park at its fullest!

  • Advanced ticket purchase
  • Stroller / wheelchair rental
  • Rider switch
  • Break areas
  • Companion restrooms
  • Attraction guides
  • Dietary accommodations
  • DAS

If your child has autism, the DAS pass can really come in handy!  When you are applying for the DAS pass, just make sure you explain the specific circumstances of what happens when your child stands in lines.  For instance, do they get really loud or are physically unable to stand still in a line for extended periods of time?  Explaining these items will help you get the DAS pass more easily, as opposed to simply stating what cognitive disability they have.

Forum user magic1106 reported success using this exact method!  When asked why her daughter needed the DAS pass, instead of stating what disabilities they were dealing with, she simply explained that her daughter gets anxiety and panic attacks in closed areas where there are a lot of people and no easy way to get out.  There was no hesitation in granting her a DAS pass!

Personal stories can also help Cast Members better understand why and how the DAS pass will help you.  For example, online user stenmarks shared that when they visited Disney for the first time, her daughter managed to get her leg stuck between the rails of a ride and needed Cast Members to help get her out.  This was because her daughter tends to fidget in large crowds with lots of noise.  After being equipped with a DAS pass, they report it has made a world of difference in allowing them to better enjoy the park! 

Early preparation beforehand can also come in handy.  Bringing along items like a sensory toy or stress ball can be useful as a calming item in case the unexpected happens.  Earphones and earplugs can also be helpful to block out noise if it gets to be too much.  Finally, creating a schedule beforehand of attractions to visit, when to take breaks, etc. can help take the pressure off everyone and help you feel more organized.

Visual

Disney offers a number of services to help those with visual impairments, such as:

  • Audio description devices
  • Braille guidebooks
  • Stationary braille maps

Audio description devices provide supplemental audio information and narration at certain attractions.  They’re available at Guest Relations when you first arrive at the park at no charge, although you do have to place a $25 deposit which will be refunded to you once you return the device.

A number of braille guidebooks are also available for each theme park, attraction, and multiple restaurants.  There are a limited number of these available to rent if you prefer, and they also require a $25 refundable deposit.

ADHD / Behavioral / Attention

For children with ADHD, preparation and practice beforehand can go a long way in helping them enjoy the day.  In the days and weeks leading up to the trip, it can be helpful to:

  • Practice waiting in line in case they are not able to obtain a DAS pass
  • Choose a spot on the Disney map in case you get separated
  • Create and review the schedule of attractions to visit

Having a schedule to follow as far as which attractions to visit, when to eat, and when to take breaks can really help in keeping everyone’s mind from wandering.

And because unplanned things happen, make sure to designate a meeting spot in case you get separated!

Diabetics

You’ll definitely want to do some planning and preparation before your trip to Disney if you will need to be managing a family member’s diabetes!

Perhaps first and foremost, it’s a great idea to wear some form of health alert identification while you’re at the park, such as a bracelet.  In the event of an emergency, it can help first responders more quickly and accurately treat your condition.

Also be aware that a number of factors can affect your insulin requirements at the park.  Exercise, heat, and adrenaline can all change your typical insulin needs.  So it’s a good idea to check your blood sugar levels more frequently than you normally would.

Plan ahead of time as far as figuring out how you’ll be managing your medical equipment as well.  Make sure everything is labeled, and that you can keep it relatively mobile in a bag that you can take with you on rides.

First Aid stations at the parks can be used to keep your medication refrigerated.  But if you want to avoid having to constantly go back to a First Aid station, you can keep some cool packs for at least some of your medication on the go.

Finally, when it comes to your diet, you’ll want to think about what snacks to bring with you.  Many experts, including the American Diabetic Association, recommends sticking to your regular eating schedule as much as possible to keep your blood sugar even.  Full service restaurants may be your best bet, because you can always request that the chef come out to discuss your specific dietary needs.  Sites like Allergy Eats can also be helpful in planning a trip to Disney!

Service Animals, Equipment Rentals, and Accessible Restrooms

If you’ll be bringing a service animal with you to the park, you’ll be glad to know that they will be welcomed at most locations.  There are however, some restricted areas where your service animal may not accompany you, simply because of the nature of those attractions.  Disney publishes a list of those restricted locations here.

 

Those with mobility challenges can also rent an electric conveyance vehicle (ECV) or wheelchair when they arrive at the park.  Wheelchairs are available for rent for $12 per day, and ECV rentals go for $50 per day.

Wheelchair and companion-assisted restroom facilities are also available at various locations in each theme park.

Bottom Line

Health or special medical needs don’t have to stand in the way of enjoying The Happiest Place on Earth, and Disney makes sure of that with the number of accommodations available!

The DAS pass can be extremely helpful, especially for kids who are unable to wait in lines for extended periods of time.  And depending on your family’s specific health and medical needs, there are a number of accommodations available to you, such as equipment rentals, First Aid stations, break areas, and more.

 

 

Dogs and Children: Proper Interactions and Bite Prevention

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Dogs and Children: Proper Interactions and Bite Prevention

Tara Stermer, Guest Blogger
April 22, 2019 

Dogs have been seen as a learning tool for children for generations. They are often added to families to teach kids how to be responsible, compassionate, and help with
the bonding stages. We all love the TV shows, and news stories, of the heroic dog that helped their child during a crisis. Whether it is a fire, a well, a stranger, or an attack from another animal. We tend to humanize dogs, because we consider them part of the family. 

However, in the most serious situations, we forget that even us humans cannot, and will not put up with the very same behaviors we expect a dog to put up with. One of the worst cases I have seen was a child that was attacked by the family dog after 2 years of living together. The child required plastic surgery and multiple stitches. The family reported to us that the dog never showed any aggression at all to the child in the first 2 years. The child could lie on him, take his toys from him, kiss him on the nose, etc. They asked me if I thought it was a mental problem with the dog. Maybe “rage” syndrome, is what they asked. 

Having the family pet bite or attack your child, is the most heartbreaking situation that can happen for everyone involved; but it is not “rage” or a mental problem. It is a communication problem, and a double standard problem. I tend to place humans in the same situation as the pet daily so people understand what they are asking their pet to tolerate, so here are some examples of what we would not tolerate from a child, but ask a pet to.

“We forget that even us humans cannot, and will not put up with the very same behaviors we expect a dog to put up with.”

Example one: Being jumped on when we are sleeping…
You had a tough day and finally get to relax on your friend or relative’s couch to unwind. All of a sudden a child comes running in screaming, and jumps on you. Would you be perfectly content with this? Would you allow your child to do this to another human? Would you allow your child to do this to you or their sibling everyday?Probably not! There would be a talk about proper manners, or how to be calm around people and respect personal space. But we allow children to do this to our dogs, and are surprised when the dog “suddenly” bites them. We immediately blame the dog, and state that the dog has a mental problem, rage, or blame the “breed”.

Example two: Taking food off your plate…
If you were sitting down for dinner and your child grabbed food off your plate, would this be acceptable to you? If your child grabbed food off their sibling’s plate at dinner, would this be acceptable? It would most likely cause the child that lost his or her meal to start yelling and screaming. Proper etiquette around feeding is not just for humans. Dogs will become just as defensive about their plates as you or any human would be.

Example three: Bullying for toys…
If your child was on a playground and another child came up and roughly pulled their toys away, you would most likely confront the parents of that child to not allowing bullying. If your child came up and grabbed a book from someone that was sitting and reading, would you allow this or teach the child that was inappropriate and rude behavior? While some dogs will tolerate this behavior, as some children on a playground would, allowing bullying behavior should not be acceptable to any being.

Example four: Inappropriate touching…
If you got a letter home from school because your child was chasing and smacking another child, maybe pulling the other child’s hair; would you ignore the behavior? We have all seen what happens when siblings start poking each other, pulling hair, or pinching each other. Parents rarely tolerate this behavior towards other kids or adults, but think this is cute when they do it to a dog. After one long 20 pound hanging hug, normally we step in and explain that is a “bit too much affection” to others, but not dogs…

So what kinds of interactions are ok with dogs? The same interactions we would expect from a child with other children or with adults.

Sharing is caring: Playing fetch is a great way to show sharing. Your child throws the ball, and it is just like sharing toys. Have the dog drop the ball and back up, or you get the ball and give it back to your child (if your dog is overexcited about play) to throw again.

Working together like schoolmates:
Teach your children to give simple commands like sit, stay, down, and roll over. Just like kids in their class, they will learn to work side by side instead of rough housing and wrestling all day.

Proper petting/touching:
Children should be petting a dog, gently and on their backs; not grabbing or getting in their faces. One way I practiced this with my own child was to teach her she could only pet the dogs if she sat in my lap. This is the safest and most educational way to teach a child dogs can be pet only if an adult is present. Proper touch is very
important, and it is not given if the dog is uncomfortable with it.

Warning, I am approaching!
Teach kids to say the dogs name prior to approaching the dog, so the dog knows they are coming. They should approach slowly and not run at them. Know your dog’s body language- if they look stiff, are wide eyed, or heavily panting- stop your child’s approach.

 

Tara Stermer is the owner of K9 Workingmind, Training By Tara LLC. For more information visit www.trainingbytara.com

 

Volunteering with Kids

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Volunteering with Kids

Lyndsay McLeodSenior Pro Tips Correspondent

March 18, 2019 

Austin has a plethora of wonderful volunteer opportunities that you can participate in with your kids. Volunteering is beneficial to all parties involved, but especially children.

“Studies have shown that volunteering helps you to develop patience, compassion, empathy, leadership, and communication.”

And you know what else? Volunteering just makes you feel good!
There’s really nothing better than that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you see your kiddos making a difference in someone else’s life. We’ve put it the legwork for you and compiled a list of the many magnificent opportunities around our beautiful city that will not only enhance your own life but the lives of others as well.

All of these agencies offer you and your family the opportunity to serve and give back to your community. Many of them rely on volunteers to continue their work our community. By getting yourself and your family involved you have the ability to have a positive impact on somebody’s life. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Austin Child Guidance Center:

This agency helps to improve the mental health of children and their families through early intervention, diagnosis, and treatment to help develop the emotional skills to face life’s challenges. Volunteer opportunitiesrange from playing with children as they wait for their appointment to providing special event support.

Click here for more information on the Austin Child Guidance Center. 

Mobile Loaves & Fishes:

Mobile Loaves & Fishes volunteers hit the streets 7 nights a week, 365 days a year to provide food, clothing, hygiene products and other life-sustaining items to our homeless neighbors who are struggling to survive.  There are several different areas of opportunity to volunteer such as Truck Ministry or their Community First! Village.

Click here for more information on Mobile Loaves & Fishes.

Central Texas Food Bank:

This is a great opportunity to bring the whole family along and help fight food insecurity.

Click here for more information on the Central Texas Food Bank. 

Partners in Hope:

Partners in Hope is a Lake Travis ministry that connects people who desire physical, emotional, and spiritual help with people who will help.  Unlike ministries that organize a crisis response to a housing emergency, Partners in Hope helps families by working to improve living conditions, walking through a season of life, and empowering them to transform over time.

Click here for more information on Partners in Hope.

Generation Serve:

This program offers a variety of volunteer options for both young children as well as teens. Several of the opportunities are done alongside their peers without the supervision of a parent or guardian.

Click here for more information on Generation Serve. 

Fig Leaf Clothing Program:

Micah 6 of Austin offers street dependent youth a place to come for a snack or meal as well as take advantage of programmatic resources such as jobs club, expressions through art and occasionally guest speakers. 

Click here for more information the Fig Leaf Clothing Program. 

Sunday Supper:

Micah 6 Youth Center provides a safe environment for youth to relax and enjoy a hot, home cooked meal, something they may not otherwise have access to.

Click here for more information on Sunday Supper. 

Miracle League:

This is a baseball league for individuals between the ages of 4 and 19 that don’t fit into “regular” recreational leagues. Volunteers are needed for “buddies” and coaches.

Click here for more information on the Miracle League. 

STARRY:

STARRY nurtures children, strengthens families, and restores hope through counseling, family support, foster care, and adoption.

Click here for more information on STARRY.  

Urban Roots:

This organization offers individual volunteering or can help organize a group volunteer event. Urban Roots works to provide struggling families with fresh produce grown on their farm.

Click here for more information on Urban Roots. 

Meals on Wheels:

Meals on Wheels offers more than just meal delivery service! They have several active programs such as HOPE, a collaboration between Meals on Wheels and the Central Texas Food Bank, PALS, a program providing assistance in caring for the pets of elderly and disabled homebound clients, and Groceries To Go, which provides grocery delivery to clients who can cook for themselves but have no reliable or consistent help with grocery shopping.

Click here for more information on Meals on Wheels.

Brown Santa:  

This program provides assistance to underprivileged children and their families in Travis County and senior residents of local retirement centers in Travis County.

Click here for more information on Brown Santa. 

Pro Tip: DIY Meal Prep For Busy Parents

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Pro Tip: DIY Meal Prep For Busy Parents

Lyndsay McLeod , Senior Pro Tips Correspondent

January 14, 2019

“Um, excuse me? What? You people need to be fed AGAIN? Didn’t I just feed you?

We parents are busy. Whether you work outside of the home or inside of the home, there just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. I’ve been making dinner for my family for many, many years now and somehow dinner time seems to sneak up on me every day.

Alas, here I am scrambling to get dinner together while tiny humans run amok all over my house. Not this week, though. This week I have decided that a little bit of meal prep is in order. A quick search on Pinterest told me that meal prep for the week could be done in one hour and could potentially save me quite a bit of my sanity. Let’s do it.

There are several sites that do all the legwork for you. They provide your menu for the week along with a grocery list for said menu. I’m more of a “do-it-yourself” kind of girl so I decided to plan and prep my menu according to meals that I already knew how to make and was confident my family would eat.

Me while planning my meal prep and this blog:

“Wow. I’m really good at this. Is this my actual calling? Parents everywhere will rejoice and praise my name when they are blessed with this valuable information.

Me while prepping my meals:

“Oh no, I forgot the ground beef. You can make spaghetti with ground chicken, right? Pretend this is two onions instead of one.

Needless to say, the most important part of this process is planning out your meals and making your grocery list. Choosing meals with similar ingredients helps to save time and money. An example of this would be Spaghetti and Enchiladas. You are able to cook ground beef for both dishes at once, and then divide in half to add to their prospective meals. Another useful tip would be to embrace ready-made products. I chose a rotisserie chicken because it could serve as the base for two meals and required minimal work.

Start by assembling all of your ingredients. Seeing everything in front of you helps to organize your plan of attack and will also bring to light anything you may have forgotten.

Meat typically takes the longest to prepare so I started with cooking my ground beef. While that was on the stove, I used the time to chop my vegetables. I washed and shredded three hearts of Romaine lettuce to be used for the side salad, Cesar salad, and as a side for the enchiladas.

I then diced the ham and removed all of the meat from the rotisserie chicken. You’ll want to make sure to do this while the chicken is still warm. Have you ever tried removing the meat from a cold chicken?

“I’ll take ‘things I’d like to never do again’ for $600, Alex.”

By the time I was finished with chopping my vegetables, the ground meat was cooked and ready to be combined with the marinara sauce and packed up for spaghetti dinner later in the week.

With the chicken off of the bone and divided equally, I started on the enchiladas. Assembling the enchiladas was quick and easy because I chose the “layering method” instead of the “rolling method.” I love easy.

The diced ham will be combined with the navy beans, diced onion, and chicken broth in the slow cooker in the morning. When dinner time rolls around, all I’ll have to do is make the cornbread and dinner is served.

I chose to make my own Cesar salad dressing but using a pre-made dressing would speed this up even more.  With the romaine already shredded and the chicken removed from the bone, this dinner is done!

I’ve always been a big fan of oatmeal for breakfast and thankfully my kids are too. Overnight oats are quite possibly the easiest make ahead breakfast there is and its completely portable. There are hundreds of recipes available so you can find the one that best suits your families taste.

There it is folks. We made four dinners and five breakfasts in an hour. It’s absolutely doable and the amount of relief and satisfaction you experience when you realize that the hard part is already done is enough to keep you from ever reverting back to the “dinner time scramble.”