The witching hour...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I know everything looks calm and peaceful in this photo but it often unravels quickly. I am talking about the time the boys get home from school until the time I get dinner on the table. In reality it is more like the witching 2 hours. I don't know how the rest of you cope at this time of day (please share). But I feel like between lunchboxes, folders, shoes, back packs, papers, homework, snacks, a cranky toddler and dinner--I am going to have a nervous breakdown some days.

So far, one thing that has helped is the slow cooker. If I can get something wholesome in there before they get home, I am better able to face the chaos. But there are only so many good crock pot recipes. I am thinking that a strong gin and tonic or glass of wine might also help but then I don't think I could help with the homework. It is challenging enough for my feeble mind already!

In all honesty, I am kind of lucky. My kids don't really struggle with their homework (as some kids do). And they don't get too much homework (as most kids do these days). But still, this is without a doubt the hardest time of the day for me. How about you?
Thank you for all of the compliments, tips and suggestions for skin care and turning 39 again. I appreciate it and after a good facial, I will likely try Arbonne. I'll let you know what I think. I also admit that I have not been drinking enough water, eating as well as I usually do or getting enough sleep and that all contributes to looking older too!


  1. I am with you, girl! I often think, I haven't seen them all day, but within 30 minutes I have turned into this cranky, "witchy" person. Homework is just a pain, and mine don't struggle either. I need some of those slow cooker recipes. I can do a roast in mine, but that's it.

    I don't know the answer, but I'll be reading your comments to see if someone else does!

    Have a good day!

  2. When I read the first paragraph the first thing I was going to say is I cook ahead or the slow cooker. That is a big help isn't it? I just cannot cook during those hours, or I turn into a momma no one wants to be around. :)
    hmmm... another thought I have is could they possibly do some homework outside at a table while Kate plays outdoors? I know Caitlyn's big thing at that time of day and especially at that age was feeling cooped up. She has always done better outdoors. She is not as clingy, too much to do.
    Dealing with the clinginess: Do you have a carrier of some type so you can wear Kate during those times? Sometimes I saw if I don't act stressed about the clinginess but totally gave into it and acted like I wanted it too, it relaxed her.
    A few really special toys for that time of day??? Caitlyn loved having a cabinet of her own in the kitchen I cleaned out that she could crawl into and have some things in. She played with pots and pans the most. Giving her something she could pour in and out of the pots and bowls. Dried beans, cheereios, fruitloops etc.?
    I know it ca be a tough time of day. Just keep remembering this too shall pass.
    Hope others have some good ideas, I look forward to reading them myself!

  3. I just wanted to say hi and tell you that you have a gorgeous family! I just discovered your blog and it feels so homey here.

    One way I deal with that time of day is to not have any other distractions. I have as much done for dinner as possible before the kids get off the bus and tackle the folders/homework right away. While I'm making dinner I try to find other things for them to do or put them to work helping me or enlist dad's help. It can be such a hard time especially when you have a little one around. Mine are older now so it's a much smoother time. But I still remember! Good luck to you. Jen

  4. Kim,
    I have found many great recipes on for crock pots! You can even sort by recipes used in the crock pot. From their home page, go to browse recipes and then look under "cooking methods" for slow cook. I usually stick to the highly rated recipes....good food in the crock pot is truly a life saver at the end of the day for us!

  5. I hear ya! My house falls apart as soon as the backpacks enter the home! Cooking is hard, but for some reason, I manage to cook every night. I love the slow cooking, but I don't have enough recipes to do it reguarly. I need more recipes.

  6. First.... you do NOT look old! Your are GORGEOUS!
    I understand what you are saying and I don't have as much as you. Homeschool has helped so much in this area because Nicholas has already spent so much time with me that he isn't as NEEDY. Still, I am no help but I do feel for you. Hang in there friend.

  7. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am so with you on this one!! LIke Jennifer said, I dont see the boys all day long and then they get home and within 30 min I am an angry irritated mom. I hate that in me but the homework time just drives me CRAZY!!!

    I unfortuantly do not have any suggestions. We have done the crock pot and the quick healthy meals but that time is still very stressful. Wish I could help I worry that this time will always be tough!!

    Christy :)

  8. Its called cocktail hour for a reason! I try to get the girls outside if we can and if not then we watch a movie in the beanbag. Some days are just bears though and I think I am crazy for wanting to add #3?

    I guess with homework it is harder to get outside but if they can do it! It seems to work for us! Some days I toss them in the stroller, plug in my ipod and hit the road!

    I also buy alot of rotissere chickens from Publix. then all I have to do is steam some veggies and make rice. Easy schmeezy.


  9. I totally understand!!! I must say I usually resort to a "movie" during this time. We don't watch any t.v. so I typically pop in a DVD. It gives me a few minutes. But, since you have various ages it is unlikely that this will work as well for you.

    The slow-cooker is a great idea...I just got the Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook. I haven't made anything yet, but there are some good recipies that I plan to try. I believe many of them would work with your families allergy restrictions. I am actually having a Southern Living at home party on Thursday, email me at the yahoo address (I believe you have it) if you would like to order it!

    Hang in there! And by the way, I just hope to look as good as you when I turn 40!

  10. AAGH, I can totally relate. That is one thing I miss about homeschooling, is it felt like that crazy time never happened because we were home all day together. I like Julie's comment about that being why it's called "cocktail hour" :D

  11. You are preaching to the choir girl!!! Please share recipes if you do have something wonderful!! Count me in for the next glass of wine around 5:30!
    Hang in there!

  12. Definitely! I wouldn't say I hate it - because I want to treaure every moment with my kids - but I strongly dislike it. Ugh. It goes by slowly, the kids and I are cranky/tired. They have already spent an entire day at school sitting still, and they don't want to sit down and do more seat work. So it's a struggle over homework everyday. They can do it - they just don't want to.

  13. I can't WAIT to see Katie Ru's Homecoming video!!!!!!!

  14. Wow ready everyone's comments...I can see this time is bigger than precutting onions. I am getting nervous. Being single with no kids...coming home is downtime to me. I am guessing that I will say good bye to that. My handyman likes to cook, I'll give him a call. Julie's cocktail hour comment is SO funny. BYW, I used Arbonne for 3 years & really like it. I still use their mist toner.

  15. LOL ~ That is why I go to the Dinner A Fare and grill!

    Ladybug hugs,

  16. Oh yeah, this is the witching hour for everyone with kids (I think!). I usually try to get whatever chopping or breading or whatever I can do while Mia is napping and before the backpacks enter the house (I also watch a neighbors son too!). I also cook just about every night (and do enjoy cooking), but some nights are harder than others. My boys want to be outside, so I am running to check on them, check the food and see if Mia is up - wine helps - after homework!!

  17. Wow this is a tough one! I can only say that preparing meals earlier helps me. Unfortunately, I am still struggling in this area too, on top of it, my hubby leaves for work at 5:30pm so things get really crazy. I just can't get a grip on any kind of schedule right now. I feel your pain! Oh, I just came up with a solution, hire a cook and a tutor! Ha ha!

  18. Leslie,

    No wonder I like you so much...we think alike!

    As chaotic as it is I do enjoy cooking for my family and I enjoy spending time right after school with the kids. Just not all at the same time.

  19. Definitely the witching hour here too! There doesn't seem to be enough time from when the school day ends til bedtime for us. I know the cooking thing here has been crazy since school started. We just had a summer kitchen built on our lanai so my husband has been doing lots and lots of the cooking - hibachi style veggies, chicken, etc. and that has helped me so much!!! I just prepare chopping, dicing and, of course, the clean up! I'm going to get a slow cooker and check that out as well.

  20. Uggh! Me too! And add on soccer practice, music lessons and it's a recipe for disaster! I've been trying to cut out my nightly glass of wine (after the kids are asleep) so I can have a clear head every day. Also, do you have "Dream Dinners" where you live? I'm going this week! One other thing that helps is I let the toddler paint or draw while the big boys work so he feels like he's a big boy doing homework too. The other day my middle son Calvin got his homework done early so I locked the two younger ones in the backyard! LOL! Af first they were shocked but then they played happily in the dirt. Sigh - you not alone at least!

  21. Kim,

    Meee too! I am always so tired at this time of day and it is when I most want to be at my very best.

    As for the turning 40...NO WAY!! I thought you were years younger than me :). You are beautiful and I think that will last :).

    Your Oct DTC Friend

  22. I do have good slow cooker cookbooks - "Fix it & Forget About It" & "Fix it & Forget About It Lightly" (many recipes overlap). I do buy many short-cut items at the store - prewashed & chopped, etc. Also, I love to go to "Let's Dish" or "Dinner Done" and make 8 meals in 2 hours for the freezer. You just have to remember to take one out of the freezer the night before if you know you are going to have a busy day the next day. As you can tell, I am no chef - I am all about quick and easy, but I do try to keep it as healthy as possible. If all else fails, I order Chinese take out and enjoy a nice glass of red wine! Right now, I am looking forward to the craziness, but I am sure I will feel differently later - I must relearn to do everything with one hand!

    Laura Beth

  23. I do a ton in the slow cooker but that is mostly for David. I currently make 3-4 meals (dinner) a day depending on whether of not the girls will eat the same thing.

    As far as the clininess....I guess I must be a bad Mama because I don't pick them up every time. They soon get over it and move on. The same with the sleep issue. I let Sophia work through it sometimes unless she is letting out a blood curly scream. (Daniel is a GREAT sleeper) Thank the Lord for small miracles on that one huh?!?!?!/ lol

    I would try to take a cat nap while Kate takes her. 30-45 minutes. Hope things improve for you! and thank you for the allergy email. It was very intersting to read.

  24. Wow! It looks like many of us are in the same boat! My boys will take turns doing their homework and playing with their sister to let me focus on getting dinner on the table. I also have doubled the recipe I'm making and freeze the second one for another night. Having something to take out of the freezer has helped me a lot. Good luck!

  25. You always look beautiful in your pictures.
    It is a very chaotic time at our house too. Eli's always hungry for a snack and wants to be entertained. I have to get dinner rolling, usually very quickly because someone has hockey practice or youth group.
    I guess I just roll with it. I try to decide the day before what we will be having for dinner so everything is ready and thawed out. If things are too wild, I'll have Tim pick up some pizzas on his way home.
    I just think, what will we do when these children are all grown and it's just me and Tim? Breaks my heart to think of my babes all grown and on their own.
    Adore you!

  26. I think the witching hour is a universal thing. It doesn't matter how great of a nap Lindy had, she still is a bear to deal with between 5:00 and 6:30 when Don gets home. Of course I want everything to be calm when Don walks in the door and half the time he comes into her fussing and me yelling. (Sadly, I lose it at times.) Then I feel like a failure because I want him to know this is not how it is all day.

    I try to do as much prep for dinner during her nap time so that I can devote some attention to her during that time. However, part of her job is to learn how to adapt when mommy can't entertain her.

    It's times like these I wonder how I'll manage two...Just breathe deeply and bear through the pain...

    You are not alone, sister...

  27. This is a tough time at our house, too. There is so much chaos that everyone feels overstimulated and exhausted at the same time. I have just hired a mother's helper a few afternoons a week to work from about 4:30 until 5:30 or 6:00. Her job is to take the two little girls OUTSIDE to play, take a walk, etc. This will give me time to cook and give me some one on one time to help Christopher with this homework (he needs a distraction free setting)in peace and quiet. We just started last night and it was great. Dinner was actually done and on the table by 5:30. Usually, I can't even start it until my husband comes home and peels Emma off of me which makes everything, including bedtimes, run too late.

  28. Rival has a great cookbook of slow cooker recipes and it is really cheap. i got it from Current for like$2. Did you know you can bake in the crockpot?
    Your kids probanly just crave some personal time. Try a calendar of which day is whose special day it is. My kids loved it when it was their day. Of course, each one needs their moment to share their day with you.
    I took a time out one day and made a schedule: of meals, afterschool activities,special days for each child,special day for mom, chores for each child. Make about three weeks of schedule and just rotate it.

  29. There is DEFINATELY a witching hour at our house.
    I read some where, where someone actually makes their dinner one day in advance, then they just have to heat and serve.
    Then, after the kids have gone to bed or are calmer after dinner, she will start dinner for the next night.
    Have not tried this, but use my Crock Pot at least a few times a week. I make anything from Chili, to Meatloaf, to Chicken Parmesan.

  30. I think that's a crazy time for most families!
    It helps me to get dinner ready earlier in the day, or sometimes the night before, and I do use my crock pot and bread machine quite a bit, they do the work for me!
    I don't know if maybe having a "special box" for Kate that she can use just at that time, things that will keep her busy and in the spot where you can keep an eye on her, at least that will help from having to chase her around?
    Find a name like "busy box", and get it out when the boys do homework to keep her busy. Then put it away when they are done.
    I don't know if that would work for you, we do something similar when we travel and the boys love that.
    Go ahead enjoy that glass of wine, so what if it takes you a bit longer to "think"?! :D

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