How to Live Through a Kitchen Renovation with Kids

| Living

It sounds like such a great idea until you’re in the midst of it. Kitchen remodels are tough, logistically and financially. A girl can only have so many microwave meals before she cracks. When you have kids, the mess and the lack of culinary resources leaves you with a trail of PB&Js, Easy Mac and drywall dust. There has to be a better way to get the nutrients your family craves without borrowing your mom’s kitchen and without losing your sanity.


Time management is everything. If you’re planning a remodel, plan your meals. Gather your arsenal of life-savers like the slow cooker, tabletop microwave, indoor grill, panini maker, hot griddle, heck, even the blender can come. Set up shop in the garage, living room, office, any place you can spread out and not mind possible messes to follow. If you have a utility sink, awesome. Scrub it out because this will become your new dishwasher. Stock up on paper plates and plastic utensils. Compile a list of recipes you can make without the oven or cooktop and start throwing them on the calendar. Did you know you can cook eggs in a slow cooker? Oh yeah. 


Skinny Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie: A delicious and comforting meal that will melt the stress away after a long day. Filled with red potatoes, garlic, thyme and easy frozen veggies, this skinny redo is mouthwatering. You’ll need to purchase the biscuits pre-made. Click here for the recipe.


Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Spiral Ham: Your oven might be MIA, but don’t doubt your ability to create a holiday ham on a Tuesday night. It lists five ingredients, and you can pair your ham with some microwave-steamed veggies and a tossed salad. Click here for the details.


Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff: Trim some calories off this classic meal. You can buy the “dinner for one, please” frozen entree, but it just can’t compare. The egg noodles will satisfy that pasta craving you can’t answer without your cooktop. Here's the recipe!

beef stroganoff

Breakfast for dinner: Utilize your electric griddle and create some fun omelets or frittatas, yummy, healthy pancakes and thaw out some hash browns. Click here for more ideas for fast, satiating breakfasts.


>> Get acquainted: 10 Prepackaged Foods that Make Dinner Easier

Grilled Chicken Rainbow Salad: Use fresh veggies to power up your salad. Use an indoor or outdoor grill to cook chicken breasts, then slice them up and add them to your salad. Here's the ingredient list!


Kid-approved snacks: Get those kiddos to help out and stay out of the dust by creating their own snacks. Skinny Mom lists nine easy-to-make munchies packed with good nutrition.


Tips for smoother sailing: Double up your recipes whenever you can and keep some for leftovers. Lunches will get boring after a while and there will be nights you just want nothing to do with dinner prep. It’s OK to get takeout, but throw that into your renovation budget.


Demo: If you’re doing it yourself, it can take between one and three days straight. A professional team can knock it out a day and a half at most. Rent a dumpster for big jobs or check out The Bagster.

Electrical: Unless you’re a pro, you really need to hire out for this. Electrical follows demo because the walls are usually exposed and the mess is made. Any kind of restructuring, like opening up walls, will require wire rerouting (say that three times fast!). This should take one full day.

Wait, do you need a permit? Yikes. These can take a few weeks! For big jobs, you’ll probably need one. Check with your city or municipal office. Structural and most electrical and plumbing changes will require a slip.


Plumbing: The plumber and the electrician won’t be able to work simultaneously, so allow another day for the plumbing to be completed. If you’re totally reorganizing the layout of your kitchen, this could take a few days.

Drywall: Full out drywall sheets and proper mudding will take two to four days. For quick jobs, contractors like the “hot mud” that sets in 20 minutes. There will be sanding, so make sure you have some barriers set up and the air conditioning or heat turned off while this happens. For really big projects, like ceilings and entire rooms, the drywall process can take a couple weeks.

Cabinet orders: If you’re going custom, these puppies can take nearly 40 days from order to delivery. Installing usually take one day.

Countertop orders: Generally speaking, expect 21 days for these to delivered. There should be a technician who comes by the house to measure and acquire specs for the snuggest fitting counters. Installation happens within an hour.


Be aware of air pollutants that will find a way to travel anywhere and everywhere throughout your home as things are stirred up and knocked down. Included are asbestos, lead paint (pre-1978), lead dust, radon, mold and mildew and formaldehyde.

  • Don’t let the kids touch any of the demo debris.
  • Seal off all vents and ducts and turn off the air while work is being done.
  • Move furniture in adjacent rooms or cover them with plastic.
  • Identify “family-safe” rooms where the kids are allowed to go, and identify the spaces “off limits.”
  • Turn off the breaker switches for any electrical wires that are not connected, even if they’re capped.