Okay, so I realized yesterday that starting THIS Saturday I will have school for 13 days straight. 9 of those days I will have to be at school by 8 or 8:30 in the morning and stay until at least 3:30, and 5 of those days until 5pm. Uhm...I haven't had a "work" 9-5 type of schedule since, uhm...October 16th 2009.
I have a distinct feeling that I am going to be pretty wiped out! Because, not only will I have to be in school all that time, but I will still have tons of school reading and homework to accomplish outside of those hours, plus my regular life. Things like exercising, preparing meals, grocery shopping, playing with the kitten, speaking to my husband. You know..the usual!!
I know that lots and lots of people are much busier than this all the time, and I salute you! I used to have a regular J-O-B and will again in the future, but I haven't for a while now and this is going to be an adjustment.
You know what is going to save my ass? Prep.
Seriously. I am prepping in as many ways as I can. I am reading as far ahead as I have time for this week in all of my classes. Reading a chapter in a text book can take an hour or more, and that is a pretty cursory read. So I am doing lots of prep-reading.
Meal prep is critical! I know I have said this before, and I will again. CRITICAL!! So that is what I did tonight. I did a bunch of prep work.
*peeled and sliced carrots
*peeled and sliced jicama
*sliced red and yellow peppers
*cooked 2 cups of brown rice
*washed and chopped two heads of lettuce
*got the coffee pot ready for the morning, all I have to do is push start
*made and packaged lunches for tomorrow, all I have to do is throw them in appropriate lunch box/bag (using my new and totally awesome reusable lunch and snack bags!!)
*pulled chicken out of the freezer for tomorrow nights dinner
*made an executive decision to make what I was going to make tomorrow on Thursday when I have more time (hence the need for the chicken). Thursday's meal is a crockpot meal that should leave us with left-overs. Left-overs are an awesome prep tool!
*washed and prepped snow peas
The dishwasher is going and I'm going to go throw a load of clothes in the laundry, because I won't have time for all day laundry projects.
Chris did a bunch of playing and chasing with the kitten tonight (she loves to be chased around the house-she chases us back! It is hilarious!)
Here is what all that veggie prep work will do for me: I can eat the veggies raw. If I want to add them to a meal (like the peppers tomorrow night) they are already cleaned and sliced and just have to be thrown in the pan. The onion is chopped so I can just scoop out how much I need. I can reheat the brown rice and have it with dinner tomorrow, and I can add some to my leftover butternut squash tomatillo "bisque" that I made a big ole pot of last night. I am taking that for my lunch tomorrow.
If I want I can add some rinsed and drained canned beans (pinto, kidney, black) to the brown rice with some seasonings for a tasty and filling lunch.
A salad is literally moments from being ready with everything washed, sliced and chopped.
I did most of this while I was making dinner tonight. Yes it took a bit of time, but it will be time very well spent as things get hectic. Yes, I will have to do more prep work in the next couple of weeks, but it too will be time well spent to help keep me sane.
And on the note of leftovers, I have bean soup, turkey and rice soup, and chicken pot pie in my freezer in ready to eat portions from meals I have already made. This Friday I will probably make another crockpot meal or two (or three-remember I now have the triple crocker!) and stick those in the freezer, too. This is a huge time saver and sanity saver when I am exhausted and it's time to make dinner. Plus, those meals can be such life savers with Chris' schedule. If he gets a call and has to go to work at oddball times, making a whole dinner is not worth it, but having good food to eat after a warm up in the microwave is always worth it.
Oh, and just a little update: Yesterday I did a 3.34 mile walk/jog in 49 minutes, with 1 minute walk/jog intervals. I felt pretty darn good and today am not sore. I feel like that was a really great "benchmark" workout. It showed me where I am really at currently with distance and jogging ability. I now feel like I really have a place to start training from. Over the next few weeks the goal is to get out on the pavement at least twice a week (three times would be better!) and work on increasing both mileage and walk/jog interval times.
Do you do prep work? What do you think is critical for your sanity in crazy times??