Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10 Meal Planning Tips

I must say, I did exceptionally well with my October menu. I stuck to it (pretty much) and I'm happy to say that I should come out a little under last months food costs. I have learned a few things over the last three weeks so I'd like to share.

  • Plan fresh food meals (like salad) for nights right after town day. My town day is Thursday, so my fruits and veggies are freshest over the weekend. I planned a fried chicken salad for Wednesday night and my lettuce was almost nasty by then.
  • Keep in mind seasonal items. This month we did a bulk buy of apples and none, that's right, none of my meals included apples in October.
  • Be sure you don't plan similar items in the same week or close to each other. I planned loaded baked potato night way too close to potato soup, and it's practically the same thing. I ended up taking the potatoes to church and skipped the chicken ball that was planned.
  • Plan meals with rolls for days you make bread so they'll be warm, fresh, and soft and meals like grilled sandwiches for days when your bread may not be as fresh.
  • Don't forget company, desserts, potlucks, holidays, and parties!
  • Always have a freezer meal ready for those unexpected, crazy nights. I fixed double lasagnas and froze one. It really came in handy one night this week.
  • Plan easy meals on nights with church or sports or you'll bomb out and go for pizza or fast food. You will. I promise.
  • Football days must have special man food. Plan something tasty and fun for football games like hot wings, dips, and finger foods.
  • Try something new but not too many things or you'll get overwhelmed.
  • And lastly, keep your budget in mind. Mix cheap and easy with a few fun or new things and maybe even a special treat night, like steaks, to keep thing interesting.
Now go plan those meals!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Journey's Creations Fall Canvas Giveaway!

Head on over to Journey's Creations and enter to win this adorable "Thankful" 11" x 14" canvas!!

This giveaway will close Sunday October 20th at 10:00 pm central time.
The winner will be announced on Monday October 21st!
Good luck friends :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Season of Continual Transition

A few days ago I was talking to my friend Nikki R about how life with little ones leaves you in a stage of continual transition. Transition can be difficult when you have lots of babies, and things never really feel settled. You spend months planning and preparing for the baby's arrival. Then baby arrives and it's finally time to put your plans into play. Some plans work perfectly and others flop. That awesome swing you had to have doesn't seem so awesome after you bump into it a few times and your baby cries every time you put her in it. Clothes suddenly become too small, baby furniture becomes to big, and toys begin to overtake your home, car, and purse and you realize it's time to declutter. You sort and store outgrown items for selling, donating, and saving for the next possible baby. It goes on and on forever. The more children you have, the more sorting, storing, selling, and donating you do. And like you have time for that when you're busy taking care of said children!
Once our school room, now a play/school room

Life can be a bit of a challenge for Mama's stuck in transition for many years. Houses seem to shrink as children (and their belongings) grow. Keeping on top of the chaos is the key to success. I personally do not like transition. I like normal. I like easy.
Right now we have a 13 year old with her own room, a 6 and 1 year old sharing a room, and a 6 month old in our room. I am constantly brainstorming about who to move where and when to do it. This is the time I normally move the baby out of my room and into their own room. The trouble is, we're out of rooms :)
2nd bedroom shared by our six year old and one year old
Our bedroom with baby crib
We made a large trip this weekend of things we're consigning and donating and I must say, I feel way better with it all gone. I've moved things around (again) and it feels a little bit more open and inviting now. I don't think we realize how our stuff can weigh us down and cause so many messes and complications.
I think homeschool families are much more likely to hang on to things we don't need. After all, we're trying to fit an entire classroom full of supplies we may need one day into our dens and kitchens! We have little ones, big ones, tiny ones, and we have everything each child needs to learn and grow. That can be a lot of stuff!!
I'm working on being content in this season of continual transition and working on letting go of the extra stuff that overwhelms me and my kids so we can enjoy a relaxing home while we're here together.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Breakfast Menu

Monday's eggs & toast
Here's a look at our plan for breakfast foods. Everything seems to work out better with a plan so we'll see how this goes. A plan not only makes it easier to figure out what we're having, it also helps with the shopping list and the kids don't have to wonder what's for breakfast, they can just look on the fridge and see what day it is. We've basically had these same breakfasts for years. But somehow I feel better knowing what to expect every day.
Many things about breakfast still vary. For example cinnamon rolls can be homemade or store bought, whatever I can handle that week. Pancakes can be blueberry, chocolate chip, banana nut, buttermilk or buckwheat. The main purpose of the chart is to avoid wasting time standing in the kitchen looking through the cabinets, fridge, and freezer trying to decide what to fix. If the morning is a disaster because I've been up all night with a baby or we have to leave the house early, I may just hand out milk and bananas :)
It's all part of my big goal to be more organized and waste less of my precious time on simple tasks.