24 Hours With … Deena

Deena is one of those people you immediately love. I met her a few years while volunteering for the Art & Antiques Show. She is so warm and welcoming to everyone, and you feel like you’ve known her forever after one conversation. Thankfully Deena and her family recently moved just down the road from us, so I get to see her a lot more! Brace yourself for a brilliant take on dinners. I can’t wait to try her technique! Please say hello to Deena:
Deena and fam BW
1. Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? I work outside of the home and I’m so grateful to have very regular hours from 8-5!

2. What is your childcare/schooling situation?
Our daughter, Grace, has been home with a nanny since she was 4 months old (now 21 mo.) and started going to a mother’s morning out program 2 mornings a week when she was 19 months.  I pick her up from school on those days and bring her home to be with the Nanny the remainder of the day.
3. What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? It totally depends on the day!  My husband travels for most of the week, just about every week, so our week days usually go like this:Breakfast – Nanny is out our house and has breakfast made for Grace before Grace even wakes up (She’s a keeper!!), I usually make a protein shake for the road, and when John is in town, he usually works from home for a little in the mornings and will make whatever he feels like. On Saturdays we have a big breakfast all together at the table!Lunch:  I usually bring a lunch to work and every few weeks I like to go out to lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile.  One of the perks of working is the ability to schedule childless lunch dates.  It’s one of the few occasions I get to eat out without having to chase/entertain a toddler so I really look forward to these lunches out!  When John is in town, he will usually try to do lunch with a friend or colleague.  Grace either eats the lunch I pack for her at school or eats at home with the nanny. Dinner:  When John is in town, we do our best to eat like civilized people at a table and together.  When he’s gone, I’m usually chasing Grace around the house with a fork full of food crossing my fingers she will take the bite.  We start off at the table, but after a few minutes, she’s throwing food all over the place and climbing out of her chair, and that’s when the great food chase begins.  I’ve actually resorted to feeding her in the tub a few times (2 birds, 1 stone) since she’s perfectly distracted while she’s in there and doesn’t even realize I’m feeding her.  I’m praying this is a stage she will grow out of because I really prefer the civilized way of eating.  When John is gone, I’ll usually eat once Grace is asleep or I’ll pick on my meal during the great food chase.4. Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? I meal plan, but not in the way you may think.  I typically decide what we will eat for dinner for the week on Saturday and then I grocery shop on Sundays.  Our nights are too hectic for any real cooking, so I usually make two meals on Sunday.  We eat one meal on Sunday night and the other meal on Monday night.  I make enough for left overs, so then we eat Sundays left overs on Tuesday and Mondays left overs on Wednesday.  Thankfully my family doesn’t mind leftovers!  If I can’t make two meals on Sunday, I’ll only make one and then make another meal on Monday night after Grace goes to bed, that we will eat on Tuesday and we will eat Sunday’s leftovers on Monday.  I usually have the Nanny cook on Thursday (she’s Cuban and her food is incredible…did I mention she’s a keeper??) and then we usually have dinner plans on either Friday or Saturday so we eat the leftovers on whatever night we don’t have plans.  

5. What is most challenging part of your day? Dinner Time!!6. What is the easiest part of your day? Bedtime and the free time after that!  I’m so fortunate to have a child who loves to sleep and goes down very easily!

. In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? Finding great help!  Like most woman and moms, I want to do it all.  We all want to do it all and do it perfectly!  The only way I’ve somewhat been able to find a work/home life balance is by bringing on a wonderful Nanny, who not only loves and takes great care of Grace, but also keeps up with the daily chores.  This allows me to be able to fully focus on my family when I am home.  Once I realized I couldn’t do it all and get it all done perfectly, we brought on the Nanny, who has been such a blessing!   

8. Does anything still stump you?  What doesn’t still stump me??  I would love to know how to cook a great meal while simultaneously watching a toddler – I know tons of you do it and I’m amazed!  I seriously only cook when my daughter is asleep!!  I’m also still struggling to get back on a regular workout routine.  With a traveling husband, early mornings and after-work workouts aren’t possible, so for now I’m sporadically fitting it in at lunchtime.   

9. How do you take care of yourself and recharge? If I can’t get to the gym during the day, I try to at least go for a walk or jog with my daughter in the evenings and always on the weekends!  I’m recharged through bi-weekly Bible Study meetings with a great group of girls.10. If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? I’d read for fun!11. Any other organizing tips you’d like to share? I love schedules and structure, and have found that I accomplish the most when my entire day is mapped out.  I schedule almost everything I do in my calendar.  This ensures I don’t forget all the countless “to-do’s” always running through our minds.  It not only gets the to-do’s off my mind and on paper, but everything get’s it’s own time-slot (and a reminder alarm) so that every day is hopefully a productive day.  It also ensures my to-do list doesn’t get too long and unmanageable.     

12. What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house?
6:30 AM Wake up; get dressed & ready for work
7:30  AM – Nanny arrives and gets breakfast started for Grace
7:45 AM – Grace wakes up – eats breakfast
8:00  AM – leave for work (School Days we leave at 8:45AM)
1:00 PM  (school days) – Pick Grace up from School and take her home
5:30 PM – Get home from work
6:15 PM – Dinner Time/Bath time
7:00 PM – Begin Bedtime routine
7:30 PM – Bed Time
8:00  PM – Freedom for the night!!Thank you, Deena, for sharing your day with us! Truly, I love your dinner ideas. We are all about the leftovers in our house too! And workday lunches are so amazing—no babysitter to schedule! Grace is a lucky girl to have such a sweet mama!

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