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Jessika Kelly is one of those rare mums who actually looks forward to putting dinner together every night after a busy day of working and doing the school run.
She never used to be that way - but that all changed this year when the mum-of-three decided to take on the biggest meal planning she’s ever done: an entire 12 months of dinners.
“Working out what to make each night for dinner has always been draining for me,” the 33-year-old told Kidspot.
“We often get home later in the afternoon/evening with sporting and therapy commitments so it was getting difficult to juggle it all.
So when Jessika’s three children - Amelia 14, Georgia, six (who suffers from Rett Syndrome and is unable to walk, talk or use her hands), and Charlotte four - were on school holidays, the clever mum downloaded this calendar and filled the entire year with the family’s favourite meals.
Among them were stir fry, butter chicken, nachos, meatloaf, lasagne, roast pork and pizza, to name a few. She even slotted in dates where the family would be treated to a meal out.
“It’s made life a lot easier,” she said. “I now do one grocery shop (click and collect) on the weekend based on the meal plan. I plan meals that are re-heatable for my work nights so I make them the night before when making that night's dinner and just do one big clean up. I also put anything that needs thawing-out the night before so it’s ready to cook.”
“On the odd occasion my husband is home before me he will jump in and start cooking from the plan,” she said.
“We are eating better as I’m not as likely to buy dinner on the way home. Getting home and cooking is just as quick when things are thawed or ready to reheat.”
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Her meal-planning efforts don’t just stop there. Jessika has also stocked up 120 school lunches in the freezer, ready to be heated up and popped into her kids’ thermos containers.
“They have mac ’n’ cheese, shepherd’s pie, enchiladas and lots of other things,” she explained.
“My daughter with special needs is on a gluten and lactose-free diet and also needs to have soft food for chewing reasons so I chose the lunches based on this. With the diet changes I was always stressed about what to put in her lunch so I find a day of cooking and freezing for the kids has saved a lot of time in the morning with lunches.”
The ingenious mum was so proud of her efforts that she shared her success with Mums Who Cook, Clean and Organise - Australia Facebook group.
“I wanted to share some things that have made the start of my year a little easier!” Jessika wrote.
“I’ve been on this page for about a year and this is incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it!!