So all things considered it was a smooth day...
My top tips would be..
1. Save mincing the jalapeno for as long as possible. Who wants spicy on their hands the rest of the day? Luckily I realized this before I chopped it and waited till it was actually needed.
2. WEAR SHOES! For the love of all things holy, wear good shoes. I started at 9 am and it didn't occur to me to put shoes on till about 3pm. My back and feet are paying for it now.
3. Include your children whenever possible. It keeps them involved enough that the don't want to bother you. Grace helped me snip beans, and as I peeled and quartered potatoes she put them in the pot of cold water for me. It gave her a peek into what I was doing. I didn't have to say "no" to her, so her interest wasn't peaked by the "forbidden."
4. Sit during tasks you can sit during! When we were snipping beans and peeling potatoes, Grace and I set up a little station on the floor with a table cloth and the items we needed. It was a little working break for me.
5. Pick a hand soap you like because you will washing your hands a lot. I am a teacher and I such I get blessed with a lot of nice hand soaps around holiday time. Sometimes they are scents that I wouldn't necessary have picked out. No big deal most of the time. You wash your hands what 5 to 10 times a day typically? Well, I washed my hands about a million times and the smell of Bath and Body Works Ribbon Candy Hand Wash was on my last nerve.
6. I tried to remember to drink every time I washed my hands. It is easy to get caught up in what you are doing and go a long time without any water. By associating drinking with something I HAD to do (was my hands), I got in my water.
7. Consider splitting the cooking and the prepping. I think next time I will take two days. Cooking my chicken breast and prepping veggies on one day and doing the actual cooking the next. I worked from 9 to 5:30 with two 30 minute breaks... and still didn't finish everything. Maybe I took on too much, but it would have simple in two days.
Things that slowed me down...
1. Taking pictures. I tried to snap a few photos to share with you about my progress. Every time I took a photo, Grace wanted me to take her picture! :-)
2. Being pregnant! I had to run to the bathroom (more hand washing, but I love the warm apricot soap in there!)
3. Peeling potatoes! I feel bad for military chef anywhere. 10 lbs of potatoes took quite a bit of time and I thought I was going to get a blister! Next time I might go with red potatoes or something that can be cooked with the skin on.
So that was it! For my days work I got:
4 bags of shredded chicken
2 bags of grilled chicken strips
2 tins of baked pasta with chicken sausage
4 lunch serving portions of Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup
2 LARGE (like lunch for the next day too) bags of Hamburger Gravy
5 generous bags of mashed potatoes.
I am also prepped and ready to make Chicken Enchiladas and Vegetable Chowder today. I need to make more sauce to go with a baked ziti I had frozen that we will have for dinner. Might as well make it a double batch and freeze that as well!
More tricks and some pictures to come!