Thursday, July 26, 2007

on meal planning for a family of six

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I am learning now, to be a homemaker. I didn't learn this skill at my mother's knee. What I learned at my mother's knee is that anything I wanted to learn, I could learn from a book...and it is working for homemaking, too!

The one thing that has helped my sanity more than any other is learning how to plan meals. It sounds all simple and 'no big deal' but it was a hard fought and won skill, and I'm really proud of what a difference it has made in my family's life.

I sat down and wrote out every single meal that I know how to make out of my head without a recipe. I thought it would be like 8 or 10 things, but it was 56! I sit down every other Sunday, and make out a menu plan for all the days until the next two weeks. I plan all the breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners for all of the days and then put them on a calander that hangs on the pantry door. There is a little wiggle room, in that I can swap around the dinners if I'm REALLY not in the mood for something one night, but generally I stick to the plan because it makes my life so much easier. I then make my shopping list based on the menu plan, so that I always have every ingredient that I need. I have a neighbor who watches my younger children, while my oldest daughter and I go out to lunch and then to the grocery store for the "Big Shop" where we buy all the groceries. It takes two carts, at Walmart, and then usually we do one other stop at a HFS or at the good Kroger.

I really do not enjoy shopping like that because it is exhausting, however, it saves me so much headache and heartache to have every ingredient for everything I want to make when it's time to make it, that it is worth it.

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