The back to school commercials are in full blast on TV and on the radio, and our kids can’t stop asking those 'what if'-questions. "What if I don’t like the new teacher?", "what if she doesn’t like me?", "what if none of my friends are in my class?". There is no doubt about it, it is time to go back to school.
As a mum, you are stressed out about organizing school runs, getting the kids to sleep on time, eat healthy, do their homework... the list goes on and on. To help ease the transition from summer mode to back-to-school mode, Puck has a 5 part series full of helpful hacks for busy mums like you.
Hacks for Busy mums part 1: Organize
Having a designated place for everything you need on school mornings can do wonders in saving time and reducing stress in the morning. Here are a few ideas to make your mornings more peaceful and productive:
- Create a breakfast station in your kitchen
You can dedicate a drawer or a corner with all the plates, forks, bowls, nuts and dried fruits, oats, etc. This will help teach your kids independence as they can help themselves while also saving you time.
- Create a breakfast basket or drawer in your fridge
Place Puck Cheese Triangles, Puck Squeeze Cream Cheese, bread, sliced cucumbers and carrots, jam, hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter or your kids' favorite breakfast/lunchbox items in it, and all you have to do is pull it out and breakfast will be done in minutes. It saves time and you don't have to do a scavenger hunt in the fridge every morning.
- Proportion lunchbox snacks and place them in a special drawer or basket in the kitchen
Set rules on how many snacks your kids can have and teach them how to choose their snacks wisely. This way you can save time and teach your kids how to be healthier and more responsible.
- Place all your family's lunchbox supplies in one place (lunchboxes, cookie cutters, small bags and pots)
This will cut your breakfast/lunchbox prep time in half. Don't underestimate the time it takes to gather everything up every morning. This also helps at keeping your kitchen organized while keeping you sane at the same time.
Hacks for busy mums part 2: Use the weekends and the night time when the kids are asleep
Some people cringe at the mere mention of meal prep – but for moms, it can be a real lifesaver! Try these hacks the night before and you will be amazed at how much of a difference it will make in your mornings.
- Hard boil eggs in bulk
They will last for 5-7 days in the fridge and they are so very versatile (think sandwiches, a quick breakfast on the go, the perfect topping for a salad dipped in a little zaatar, or simply added to lunchboxes).
- Make sandwiches in bulk over the weekend and freeze them
This works perfectly well with cream cheese sandwiches and with peanut butter and jam sandwiches that are made with toast bread. All you have to do is place them in your kids' lunch box, as they will thaw in time for their lunch break while simultanously keeping the lunchbox cooled.
- Make breakfasts ahead
The night is your friend when it comes to preparing breakfast, and there are so many recipes that you can make the night before and simply serve the next morning. Try making over night oats (replacing the yogurt with Puck Labneh for an extra creamy treat), pancakes, baked oatmeal or chia pudding. Just to name a few examples.
- Wash, cut, portion smoothie ingredients into bags and freeze them
An hour over the weekend can transform your entire week! All you have to do on weekdays is to grab a bag and blend. Breakfast is served!
- Make granola bowls over the weekend
Granola bowls are the perfect vessel for breakfast. Make them over the weekend and just fill them with yogurt, Puck cream cheese, or Puck Labneh and your favorite fruit in the morning.
Hacks for busy bums part 3: Save time by using shortcuts
A shortcut can save you time and energy, two precious commodities for mums. Try our timesaving hacks for a stress-free morning:
- Cook eggs in the oven in a muffin tin
Instead of cooking a few eggs at a time every morning, use your oven to cook 12 eggs at a time in the oven. They require less attention which means that you can use the cooking time to multitask. Once the eggs are cooked, you'll have a week's supply of ready-to-eat eggs
- Make pancakes in a muffin tin
All kids love pancakes, but who has the time or energy to make them on school mornings? The next time you make pancakes over the weekend, double the recipe and bake one half in a mini muffin tin and store them in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for up to three months.
- Use sheet pans to make omelet and sandwiches.
Using the oven, a sheet pan and a little planning can transform your week. You can keep things interesting by using multiple toppings in the same sheet pan.
- Use your waffle iron to make hash browns, cinnamon roll toast (from frozen cinnamon rolls) and falafel waffles
Sometimes an appliance sets in your kitchen for years without being used to its full potential. Think outside the box and try using your appliances for multiple recipes and purposes.
- Use your microwave to make scrambled eggs and muffins
All you need is one mug and 2 minutes! The microwave can be a busy mum's best friend.
Hacks for Busy Mums 4 : Use Leftovers
Food waste is a problem that humanity faces every day, with some reports stating that up to 1/3 of the food we produce goes to waste! Before you toss something in the bin, pause for a minute. There's a possibility that it can be used again in a given number of ways, not only helping with preserving the environment, but also saving you time and money.
- Use stale bread
Stale sandwich bread is a problem that goes hand in hand with the school season. Instead of tossing it away, use it to make croutons, breadcrumbs, French toast, or bread pudding. You can also cut it into thin slices, spray with a bit of olive oil and your favorite herb/spice mix and toast in the oven. What you'll get is your very own homemade crackers. Serve them with Puck Labneh or Puck Cream Cheese Spread for a great breakfast or after school snack.
The possibilities are endless once you put your thinking cap on.
- Mash fruit and add chia seeds to make a healthy jam
Whether it is a few slices of fruit that come home in the lunchbox or a few strawberries that are about to go bad in the fridge, mash or blend them and add some chia seeds, and allow them to set for a few hours. The result is your very own sugar free jam. You can enjoy this as it is or serve it for breakfast with a few slices of toast and some Puck Cheese Triangles.