I was worried that after the excitement of a year of preschool, Forrest would be bored during the summer. (The less benevolent version of that statement is that I also worried I'd go insane if he spent all day, every day at home all summer long.) So I signed him up for some activities and classes--swim lessons, karate, a preschool summer day camp.
The good news is, he isn't bored at all, and he is having a blast this summer.
The bad news is, all these activities are kind of making me crazy.
He has some sort of activity every day of the week, and sometimes he has two classes in a single day. I am told that someday I'll look back at this "two activities a day" schedule and laugh and laugh, and I won't be able to believe that two activities made the day feel busy. But for now, after 5 full years of being at home with little kids 90% of the time, and trying to squeeze in naps and quiet time between trips out to the pool and the karate studio and the playground . . . this summer schedule feels really busy.
We actually had a two-week long run when we couldn't make it to the library for story time. Two weeks without a library visit. If you've spent much time around this blog, you'll know this is serious business. The kids just about lost their minds with excitement when we finally hit the library a few days ago after our lengthy lapse. Forrest actually said, "Oh, yay! The library! I remember this place!"
And I am sorry to say that our dinners have suffered. Even on the days when we're only juggling one or two activities--whether they are classes or trips to the store or playdates at the park with friends--I end up feeling so exhausted by the end of the day that I can hardly stand the idea of making dinner. We had ice cream for dinner a few days ago. No one complained about that, unsurprisingly, but I'm trying not to make it a regular meal.
So today, I'm sharing a quick, easy, healthy dinner that we all enjoyed recently. It was fast enough to whip up easily, even on a night when I didn't have any energy left for meal prep. And as a bonus, I didn't even have to turn on the oven. When it's 100 degrees outside, leaving the oven cold makes my evenings an awful lot happier.
I picked up a handful of fresh vegetables--grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli--as well as Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Chicken Breast Fillets and Birds Eye Steamfresh® Protein Blends at Walmart while grocery shopping. I prepared 3 chicken breasts in the microwave, and washed and prepped the vegetables. Then I cubed the chicken:
And layered all of the ingredients onto wooden skewers. And since everything is more fun when it's dippable, I mixed up 3 quick dips--they're really fast to prepare, and make a simple dinner seem a lot more exciting.
BBQ Ranch Dip
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
Combine in a small bowl and serve.
Honey Mustard Dip
adapted from AllRecipes.com
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients except oil in a small bowl, and mix well to combine. Slowly add the oil while whisking vigorously to incorporate. I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons oil--use more or less to reach desired consistency.
Touchdown Taco Dip
adapted from AllRecipes.com
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
1/2 envelope taco seasoning
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
What do you like to make for dinner on busy evenings? I'd love to have a few more dishes in my arsenal for busy nights.