At the beginning of the year I set some reasonable goals for myself. Nothing crazy, just realistic goals that will hopefully help me to be more organized, step out of my comfort zone and make the most of my time.
One of the biggies is meal planning. I often get excited pouring over recipes, compiling lists and filling up my meal schedule for the week, but let me tell you; actually putting it into practice is hard work. It takes a lot of discipline to go shopping (bi-monthly), make and clean up after all the meals that I have planned e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. d.a.y.! But I know all my hard work will pay off and leave me less frustrated, my family less cranky and hungry, and our bank account fuller.
I have been finding my groove and have finally found a routine that I am gradually implementing better and better. I can't really take credit for my meal planning fix though. I have some amazing sister-in-laws that I often emulate. I steal as many of their good ideas as I possibly can. They always inspire me. I love sharing our ideas, failures and accomplishments together. I am so thankful to have them, other great friends and the blogging community to learn from.
I am happy to say that since the beginning of the year I have kept up with my meal planning schedule. Here is what it looks like:
1. Planning the meals
When I first start planning my meals I go through my recipes that I have compiled in my recipe book and on my pinterest board. I also have a list of meals that are our favorites that I add in. I try to make at least one new recipe during the week. I write down a list of all the things that we will need and write the meals on this bi-monthly planner from the money saving mom. She has a ton of other planners that you can customize to your families needs. I like that this planner has space for breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner. I recently bought a dry erase calendar board from Target(don't you just love Target?) that I have on the fridge, so I can more easily write our meals on and change them as needed.
We don't really have themed days for meals but Fridays I try to make homemade pizza, Saturdays are usually already made foods, or fast food if we are out and about. If we are home I try to make a crockpot meal for dinner and have left over for Sunday dinner. On Sundays we have doughnuts and Panda express for lunch. It's our tradition.
2. Go food shopping every 2 weeks
I tried shopping only once a month but found out very quickly that it does not work. Food goes bad, there simply isn't enough room in our fridge and cupboards, and it is exhausting. So far every two weeks seems to be working the best.
My first stop is Sam's Club.(we have a membership from my husband's work) I don't have a lot of room to store many bulk items but I have found certain items that have worked great for us and are staples in our home. It's been great having some bulk items that last us much longer than if they were normal size. After all we are not a normal sized family and we tend to devour things very quickly.
I also go to Aldi's. They have some amazing prices and have many products that I can't get at Sam's club or that I don't need in bulk. ( They also have a great, inexpensive organic brand.)
When I have forgotten an item or we run out of something; I make a quick run to Publix ( a grocery store only in GA and FL). We have one literally right around the corner from us. It is really too convenient sometimes. I always end up buying things that I did not come in for so I try to stick to my 2 week schedule. We mostly frequent there for subs and donuts;)
I usually go shopping early Saturday morning and take only one of my children while my husband watches the others. We make it into a date. They actually fight over who can go with me. I remember grocery shopping with my dad and loved it. When my husband can't watch them, I take all of them because I just have to and am thankful that they have all learned to behave very well(most times.)
After shopping and putting everything away I am burnt out and purposely buy a frozen pizza or cooked chicken so I don't have to cook dinner;)
3. Making the meals
Now that I have all the food in my home it's time to get down to the nitty gritty and actually make them. This is where I have had to ask God to help me to keep to my plan. Many days I just want to throw in the towel and go get something out. But I know that I need to stick with it and do what needs to be done. Most days I look at what I have planned for dinner and make sure to start at a time when everything will be done by 5:00 or 6:00. On days that I am making a crockpot meal I usually put it in the crockpot the night before or in the morning. On school days I try to start cooking at 4:00.
If I am not feeling what we I had planned for the night I simply switch it around. I always try to make enough at dinner so that we will have leftovers for lunch the next day and to send off with Josh. This has become a life saver, especially during school. It's so great to be able to just heat something up on our lunch break instead of spending a lot of time cooking.
All this being said there are those days when things don't go as I planned or we spontaneously go out on field trip or to the park and I haven't prepared lunch. Those are the days when I find it very necessary to save myself some stress, give myself grace and go to Chik Fil A or some fast food place.
I hope to share in my next post a week's worth of meals and what some of our go to meals are so stay tuned!
Have you been implementing your goals or resolutions for the year?
Do you have trouble sticking to meal planning also?
Do you have any tips for staying on schedule?
Linking up here!