Keeping it Together During the Witching Hour


That hour before dinner is the worst. You’ve finished your work for the day and need to get dinner on the table. DINNER! It’s supposed to be a time when your loving family can come together. But getting through that hour of preparing dinner and dealing with the kids at the same time can wear-you-out!

When you are busy it always seems dinner is the first thing to fall off the radar. But a little planning will benefit your weeknight warriors. First, do you make any of these mistakes? It’s easy to do. You’re late getting home or the kid’s are having a difficult day. Maybe you made it to the store, but now realize that you don’t have everything you need to prepare the meal you shopped for.

If this is you (the worn-out-mom) maybe you are making some of these mistakes:

  1. Waiting to think about dinner until it’s time to eat. This is usually when you order from GrubHub.
  2. Taking dinner a day at a time. Shopping everyday waste a lot of time.
  3. Shopping without a list. Way to much impulse shopping if you don’t plan.
  4. Waiting until you need something to purchase it. A time waster to shop for just one thing.
  5. Stocking your freezer with the wrong food. Freezing ready-to-cook meals saves time.
  6. Avoiding your slow cooker. A little work with a big pay off at the end of the day.
  7. No Back up plan. Have a few things in your pantry that you can make a meal is important.

Having a meal plan, shopping plan and dinner prep plan can make your life so much easier. Change your ways and see!

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Seana Turner on October 21, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Getting dinner “done” isn’t easy! It takes a lot of work and definitely planning. The slow cooker and now the instant pot are wonderful tools, but you still have to plan the meals and get the food in the house. My daughter, who has recently moved to Arizona, keeps laughing at the fact that she often forgets to that what she is planning to eat. I suggested she move it the night before into the fridge. It helps to have a clear plan for dinner tomorrow before you go to bed! Wonderful topic to post on:)

    • Janet Schiesl on October 21, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      Planning is the key. I used to be like your daughter! But then I learned how much money and time I could save with a little planning. She’ll learn.

  2. Linda Samuels on October 21, 2019 at 10:49 am

    You made me laugh. We used to call this the “bewitching” hour. But “witching” hour works too. I remember this time so well when our daughters were little. They would lose steam around dinner time, and intense emotions would arise. So anything we could do to remain as calm and patient as possible was good. It helped to prepare. I was never great about meal planning, but I compensated by having enough ingredients available so that I could easily create a meal. It was my workaround.

    • Janet Schiesl on October 21, 2019 at 3:34 pm

      “Witching” is kind of a Halloween theme. Yes, I remember those days as well. My boys would get crazy hyper right before dinner. That made for a lot of chaos, so I needed a plan.

  3. Janet Barclay on October 21, 2019 at 11:37 am

    We’ve planned our meals a week or two in advance for longer than I can remember now. As empty nesters, we’re more flexible than we used to be, but still like having that looked after. I can’t imagine “winging it” with kids of any age at home!

    • Janet Schiesl on October 21, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      I always planned my meals for the week, wrote a grocery list and then my husband would do the shopping. It worked great for years. But we are now empty-nesters, so we wing it a little bit more.

      • Janet Barclay on October 22, 2019 at 12:33 pm

        I know quite a few people who buy a bunch of groceries and make up meals as they go along. It sounds like fun but I think I’d actually find it a little stressful.

  4. Sabrina Quairoli on October 21, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    I found that doing freezer meals were so much easier once a month. Then, all we did was pull it out and cook. It was already marinated and all the ingredients were measured out so there wasn’t much planning on that day. Having an acrylic bin in the pantry to add the staple items for the evening meal worked great too.

    • Janet Schiesl on October 21, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      This is a great idea. I have tried freezer meals before. They are a great for planning ahead and saving time during the week. But for some reason, I never really adopted this. It’s whatever works for you – isn’t it!

  5. Nancy Haworth on October 21, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    These are great tips! I usually shop and plan meals in advance on the weekends, so that hour before dinner time on weeknights isn’t too stressful. I found that whenever I didn’t do that, I’d end up ordering take out or having to run to the store for a missing ingredient, which wastes both time and money. Organized meal planning can make life so much less stressful!

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