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Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}

by | Apr 27, 2016 | Decorating Inspiration, My Dining Room, My Life, My Seattle House

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Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}

This post was prepared in partnership with Blue Apron

The past few weeks have been a little crazy around our house! Between being book writing and book launching seasons, all the house projects I have going on and church stuff we are involved with, our family has been in one of those extra busy times. Those come along now and then (or a lot) for most of us who have a lot on our plate and if we want to stay sane, we have to get really good at juggling if we want to try to find some sense of “balance.”

I wrote a lot in my new book about how I have learned ways to create a more peaceful home and how I attempt calm the chaos of life. The good news is, I know it IS possible to juggle a lot and not feel totally frazzled at all times.

Juggling the plates well doesn’t mean you live a life of domestic bliss or that everything will be easy peasy, because perfect doesn’t really exist. You just have to know what to trim out so you can focus your energy on what really matters to you. That’s my thing. I am learning and training myself to be pretty deliberate about where I spend my time and how I can do what I really love in life and not feel like I’m dropping too many balls.

Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}

One of the areas I try to streamline as much as possible now is time spent on meal prep and shopping. We stick to our basic tried and true recipes that we can prepare easily and we know what to shop for, so we can buy mostly fresh produce and meats to keep our meals healthy and simple. I try to simplify our activities and schedules as much as possible because I want to have the maximum amount of time with our family. I just hate to waste any of it by being disorganized. Time is precious and how we spend it matters!

Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}

Yet, I find that when we are extra busy and we dropped the ball on a plan for those days, we end up going out to eat more than I wish we did. Because it is easier. And we are hungry. And no one thought about dinner for that night until everyone is starving and crabby.

Usually my teen son is the first one to venture out to the kitchen and notes that no one is making dinner! Ha. He can cook for himself, but as a teen boy he’s always hungry and looking forward to the next meal. That’s something that matters to me, that we have family meal times and no one is eating on their own all the time.

Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}

Those super busy days come every single week at our house, I’ll be honest, so they shouldn’t be a surprise. Yet if we treat them like a surprise, we will realize too late that we are hungry and we have to go out, or we will eat eggs again. Those situations happen because I didn’t plan for an in-between option. That is, planning on something for dinner that would be in between eating eggs again and going out.

Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}

I learned years ago that if I wanted to save time and money, I absolutely had to plan for in-between options. In my dreams I would prepare food in advance for busy days and always be on top of my shopping game, but in reality with my schedule I’m not always able to set aside time for that, nor do I love shopping and cooking enough to make it a big priority every week. But if I plan for easy in-between options, it always saves the day and saves us money in the end because we didn’t have to go to a restaurant in order to eat well at home. And we didn’t have to resort to take out!

Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}
Meal services are the best invention. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried Blue Apron, but I love it because they deliver farm-fresh quality ingredients for a wonderful meal right to your door in a refrigerated box! You get to enjoy a delicious meal that you still prepare fresh at home, but all the indecision is out of the way so you can get right to preparing.

Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}

It’s easy! Everything you need is ready to go, the recipe cards tell you exactly what to do and within a short period of time and just a little preparation, you are sitting at the table with your family eating something yummy for your tummy. I love getting to try a new recipe too. The meals are all delicious and I always come away with a new favorite recipe I never would have tried on my own.

Finding More Hours In The Day {Meal Planning}

Ordering even just one meal a week can be the perfect in-between option so you have a plan for for your busiest day, or even give you a day or two off every week of wondering or shopping for what you’ll eat for dinner and stressing out that you have no idea and no time to deal with it.

You can order just what you need with a two-person meal or a family plan. Each meal takes under 40 minutes to prepare. Check out their yummy chef-designed recipes here!

Best of all, you can give yourself a break! Sound heavenly? It is! Blue Apron nights could even be your favorite night of the week and something to look forward to (in addition to binge watching Fixer Upper, of course).

Want to try it for yourself? 

  • The first 50 readers to sign up will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order!

  • Just click here to get started! There is no commitment and you can cancel the service at any time.

What are your tips for finding more hours in the day?


  1. Brooke Hatfield

    I think this is a great option. Meal prep is the hardest part of my day. I am often left scrambling then feel like super woman when I pull it together! New mantra…gotta get more organized in the kitchen! I need to prepare a weeks list and just stick to it. Instead I end up picking up groc here and there and rushing home to see if I can pull dinner together. Thanks for the reminder that organization goes a long way and when it just can’t be done there are other options besides going out!!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Yeah, I finally gave up on trying to pull dinner together by winging it or trying to make different elaborate meals long ago. My husband helps a lot with this now when I’m so busy because we just make a few basic things he knows how to make. Nothing fancy but at least it’s healthy and tasty.

  2. Lisa

    We have ordered four meals from Blue Apron. I was a little creeped out by ALL the packaging (they do offer a recycle service) but the ingredient quality is good. I found that it’s easier to ask someone else in the family to prepare the meal (even the 12 and 15 year-olds) if everything is labeled and the recipe is handy. Makes my life much easier if I’m working on a project and can’t break away.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Yes, good idea to get help! Delegating has been one of the things I’ve been trying to get better at. It sure makes a difference when you don’t have to do everything yourself! :)

  3. Louise

    I don’t have nearly the busy life that you do, Melissa, but I’ve reached a similar state of strongly disliking defaulting to eggs, again, for dinner; and more recently I have come to not even like shopping for groceries. I’m gradually reforming! By virtue of cooking a lot one-and-a-half days last week, we’ve had our pick this week of: the Pioneer Woman’s fabulous meatloaf (which I’ve been making every other week so it’s always in the house); blade pork chops in a great Louisiana type sauce; over-baked chicken thighs; and flash-fried shaved steak and onions and peppers. With a few fresh vegetables in both freezer and the fridge, dinner prep is a matter of reheating a meat dish and cooking peas or making a salad or steaming asparagus. Maybe we’ll have rice or a potato. Shopping less often means spending less money, since I’m not adding in extras that weren’t on my original list. Fewer shopping trips have big price tags–but I really don’t darken the door of the grocery store for at least two weeks, so the bigger price tags make sense. My husband calls from work to ask what’s for dinner, and he gets to choose from the number of choices we have! And I have time for a glass of white wine while seated before starting to cook! I’ve thought in the past about a Blue Apron-type plan but so far local shopping works for me. Down with dinner panic!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      YES! Wonderful insights! Funny how long it took me to learn simplicity, but I’m RIGHT there with you!! :)

  4. Tracie

    I’m going to check out Blue Apron! I keep a list of easy meals because when I’m stressed, I’m all, “Cook? I know how to cook?” It’s like my brain’s hard drive is wiped out. :-P I even wrote about this on my blog today.

  5. Ariane

    Hi Melissa! I love your blog and your books! I feel like you must have a camera in my house b/c you always write about exactly what I’m thinking/worried about. Thank you for great inspiration and ideas. I love that you talk about real life and the challenges we all face. Finding your blog has been a blessing!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, Ariane! So kind of you to encourage me, I appreciate that! It’s a blessing to be able to share real life and the challenges we all face in our own way!

  6. Ginger

    Love your bookshelf in picture – have a source for it or one similar?

  7. Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    You do have a lot on your plate, Melissa. Whew!
    Our go-to meal is usually an omelette. Which is great if we have interesting things to add to the eggs. However, I do love the idea of Blue Apron for the ease and trying new dishes which I NEVER get around to doing.

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