by Susan Sey
Okay, it's late summer. It's too hot to think hard. School won't start again for a month but I've already trotted out all the kid-distracting tricks I know. The excitement of summer travel wore off about six weeks ago but there's still at least one road trip on the old calendar. The novelty of the grill wore off a month ago but there are still dinners to be fixed.
At this point, I'll do just barely enough to get by. I'll continue to feed the family but it'll be absolutely without ambition or pizazz. That grilled pizza thing I was so into a while back? Yeah, that was June. That smoothy jag? July.
It's August now, & I'm all about cheap & easy.
Last night I fed the family a big bowl of baby spinach covered with chopped up garden burger, cottage cheese & salsa. I called it a salad. They ate it but were dubious. I don't blame them.
Here are a few of my shortcuts this month that are going to save my sanity:
1) No More Mommy Martyr. Our roles in the family go something like this: My husband suggests outlandish things we can't afford--anything from a big screen TV to eating out seven nights a week--and I say, "What?? No way!" He gets to dream big & I get to be a control freak. It works for us. These days, however, at the merest suggestion of eating out, I say, "Absolutely! What a great idea!" I generally produce a coupon, or insist on someplace cheap, but I'm all about not cooking dinner.
2) Playground Group. I'm a stay at home mom, & I resent paying for childcare. I *am* childcare. That's why we don't pay for it. But I'm on page 74 of the first draft of my most recent masterpiece & I'm aiming to have it done by December. I need to get a move on. Therefore, in spite of my moral objections, I paid for the kids to go to an organized playground thing a couple hours a day, a couple days a week this month. I drop them off, take my computer to my beloved Bruegger's & work without interruption. It's bliss. I totally get why lots of women view work as a cherished respite rather than a hassle. I never had a job I liked that much before, but I like writing enough to finally understand.
3) Precut veggies. Okay, I'm embarrassed about this one but hell, I'm among friends. I'll admit it. I'm a big fan of natural foods, foods in their rawest format. The less processed the better. I'm one of those shop-around-the-perimeter-of-the-grocery store freaks. Even under duress, I'm not going to buy my kids those Trix yogurt tubes that have as much sugar as a can of pop. But I recently discovered that my beloved Sam's Club carries a ginormous bag of pre-cut, pre-washed broccoli florets. I can grab a handful & shove them in the steamer five minutes before dinner & voila! Fresh veggies for the family. And all I had to do was pay like twice as much for it as I do a regular old head of broccoli.
But desperate times & all that.
So how about you? Are you cutting any corners here in the dog days of August? Confess them here & make me feel better. If they're particularly good, I'll probably use them myself. So thanks in advance.