Work Smarter to Avoid the “Sour Hour”

Do you know what the “sour hour” is? As moms, we all have different names for this daily segment of time, but sour  best describes it best for me.

The sour hour is that critical time span prior to dinner when everyone is hungry, and we’re hangry (hungry + angry = hangry). 

Adults usually  know to grab a snack to stave off hunger, but young kids go into full-blown meltdowns. Some even have personality changes.

Have you experienced this?

To pick up where the last Family Table post ended, I want to offer more wise tips I’ve learned in planning for family meal times. My goal is to  avoid the unpleasant results of  the sour hour. 

It’s 5:00 p.m. somewhere.  Does  sour hour make you  feel like this

After years of working harder to get dinner on the table while avoiding fast-food drive throughs and preschool meltdowns *O.K. Dennis gets hangry when his blood sugar gets too low*, I’ve learned to work smarter.

Just because you work more, doesn’t mean you get more. That’s why you need to work smarter, not harder.~ Paul Chucks

Make it smart

Freezer meals

The thought of preparing enough meals to put into the freezer for a week or two may be daunting, but it is nothing more than a case of working smart, not hard.

Also known as Batch cooking, the idea is to take a half day or what time you can manage, to prepare meals to be put into the freezer.

I found two advantages to working smart:

  1. No more of the chaotic dilemma “What’s  for dinner?” Some meals can be taken directly from the freezer and placed into a crockpot in the morning before leaving for the day.
  2. The money we saved on not eating out or making last-minute trips to the grocery store makes it worth my effort.

Buying in bulk, meal planning, and freezer cooking has been such a life-saver for me! It keeps more money in my family’s wallet, less dirty dishes in the sink at night, and most importantly, more time to spend with my family.  ~ Angela Freezer Friendly Moms 

Let Your Crockpot Do the Cooking

Unless you can afford a personal chef, allow your crockpot to have dinner waiting on busy days. I have a small one (4 quart) and a larger one (6 quart).

New Leaf Wellness offers 8 healthy crockpot freezer meals you can make in 45 minutes–complete with a grocery list and step by step instructions.

Quick meal starters
  • When ground beef or chicken is on sale, buy in bulk and freeze in half pound or one pound portions.  One of my favorite fast prep ideas is to cook ground beef with onions, divide into half-pound  to one-pound portions. Use as base for spaghetti, chili con carne, sloppy joes, tacos, etc.

I personally don’t like to freeze cooked chicken, but I will have all ingredients for a casserole or recipe placed together in a Ziploc bag frozen with the  raw chicken.

I use Ziploc vacuum bags (using the pump )to seal meals for the freezer. (A FoodSaver system works, too.)

  • Another idea I use when making casseroles is to prepare two at the same time. I bake one, then freeze the other to be baked in the near future. (It is labeled with name of casserole and date prepared.)

Work Smart Tip:

While convenience food isn’t always the most healthy choice, it is still cheaper than eating out.

There are just some days pulling a pizza or Lean Cuisine out of the freezer is smart, simple and quick. Grab a rotisserie chicken or prepared main entree from Costco or Sam’s Club .

If you’ve found these posts helpful, please leave me a comment.

And, if you have tips you think our readers would like, please share.

You are loved,


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