We are sleep deprived, running late, can’t remember anything, and genuinely stressed out. One of the side effects of so much jolly holiday goings on is a lack of sleep. As soon as sleep deprivation sets in, we notice a snowball of unpleasant behaviors that, if not taken care of, can turn into bad habits. It doesn’t take long for things to go south with four kids in the house.

My first defense is dinner. Making sure we are eating a balanced meal at a normal time can make all the difference in stopping my slide down a slippery slope. Knowing that and acting upon it are two different things. Going to a drive-through sounds so tempting when my to-do list is out of control, but having something in the slow cooker can save me money, time and, in the long run, stress.

My mom knew that getting us home for dinner was important in keeping us centered, eating well and staying organized. Having an established routine is key to winning in life’s stressful moments, and a little bit of planning can keep that routine going. I know that adding one more thing to that to-do list sounds unbearable, but I promise it’s worth it. So, let’s make that shopping list, prep some slow cooker freezer meals, and keep our dinner routines healthy and strong. The last thing I need is someone to get sick!

Now I realize that we can get bumped by programs, plays, parades and whatnot, but we really don’t have to attend every function that we are invited to. Be realistic and take my mom’s advice: only skip the dinner table once a week.

Basic Slow Cooker Pot Roast

  • 2 -3 pound beef roast
  • 2 pounds potatoes washed and quartered
  • 1 pound carrots peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups water and 4 bouillon cubes (or 4 cups of broth)
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Throw all ingredients into the slow cooker. Set on low for 6 hours. This may take longer depending on how hot your device gets.

This week’s menu is based on the Treat’s ad on page A12

Pork and apples

Hot turkey sandwiches

Sweet and sour meatballs


Bacon quiche


Single mother to three rambunctious boys and a princess. Making every dollar count! Kids are expensive, and they always seem to need stuff.

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