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(to read Part I – click here)

The kitchen remodel is in full swing, and it has been an interesting and educational experience thus far!

We didn’t have an exact start date, so I was procrastinating and packing boxes here and there – after all, it isn’t the most enjoyable task, and I still needed to keep my kitchen stocked and functional enough to keep it operational. Then it happened….I got a call and had 24 hours to get everything out, so the transformation could begin. After my panic attack subsided, I got busy and spent more than 10 hours packing up every last pot, pan, dish and cup. By the time I was done, it was after midnight, and I was totally exhausted. It was at this point that I realized that I had not given much thought to the “temporary” kitchen set up nor to the healthy meals I was going to have already planned…I thought I still had at least a week to get ready and had actually just gone to the grocery store and purchased my normal weekly groceries for family meals that need to be prepared with a stove/oven, etc.

Once I got a few hours of sleep and had some coffee, things started to fall into place (as they usually do). I set up a small table in our formal living room for the coffee pot and toaster and for items that we would use on a daily basis. The kitchen table and chairs are now also set up in the formal living room as well. It is not a heck of a lot of room, especially with a couch, loveseat and bookcase in there, but it gives us a place to sit and eat together. I really try to have dinner together as a family every night. I think it is important for kid’s nutrition and to come together as a family to talk about our day…but we can talk about that more in another blog! We moved the refrigerator just off the formal living area to the entry way….yes, the entry way! For safety reasons, a refrigerator needs to be on a hard floor, not carpet. So other than the bathroom, this was the only option! Combine this with boxes everywhere and now a thin layer of dust covering everything. It truly looks like our house could be on an episode of the show “Hoarders”! But you do what you’ve got to do, and I know the end result will be worth it!

Let’s discuss how I am attempting to try and have healthy meals during this whole process. Actually breakfasts and lunches have not really been impacted, for the most part. With access to the refrigerator, toaster and most importantly the coffee pot, we have been able to still have toast, yogurt, whole grain waffles or cereal for breakfast, and lunches are sandwiches, cheese and fruit or left-overs from our dinners. Ah, dinners…this is where things become a challenge! During the first few days of the demo and remodel, the workers came early and left mid-afternoon, so I was still able to use the built-in microwave that we left in the kitchen. Now however, work may be done in the morning by one crew, and then later in the day, a different crew may come in and work till nearly eight o’clock in the evening. With this work schedule and the fact that now everything is taped off because they are painting the cabinets…I have no access to the microwave!

We opted out of purchasing an additional microwave for cost and practicality reasons, so this truly limits my creativity with dinner. My husband and I have eaten salad, and we can actually use our grill. I want to limit the amount of dishes I use because I am using one of our hard-sided coolers as a “sink” in the front yard! Oh, what the neighbors must think! So, I must admit, we are eating out far more than we ever have (other than vacations). The kids think this is FANTASTIC! I, however, have a different opinion! Most restaurant meals, even fast food can be made more nutritious with the addition of items you have at home, so we have done burgers, thin crust cheese pizza, soft tacos using corn tortillas and even fast-food chicken; grilled or even plain fried (once you add anything that says “extra,” “tasty” or “crispy,” your calories and fat levels are through the roof). I typically do not get all of the sides with take-out meals and instead use fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain bread and low-fat milk from home to round out the meal. Is it ideal? No. Is it what I would make for dinner if I had another choice? No. But, this is only for about 2 weeks, and then I have to clean everything and figure out where to put it in the new kitchen. How to organize your kitchen and pantry is what we will discuss in the next blog. Stay tuned!

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