It seems like the more you love something, the more time you give it. For instance, my boys love video games, so they devote a lot time and (all) their money to it. Chickadee loves to read, so she takes time to read everyday.
With this being the pattern, you would think that I MUST LOVE meal planning, shopping, and cooking, right? I mean that only makes sense. Because I spend so much TIME doing it!
We all know how I feel about it. And I KNOW that I am NOT alone.
Just because we do it, doesn't mean we like it. I don't gripe about it so verbally with the kiddos around; I don't want them to automatically feel the same way. They can grow up and hate it on their own. LOL! Just kidding.
Since there is NO getting around it, and they insist on eating everyday, I have done my best to try and minimize the workload on my end. Here are a list of things that have helped:
1) I ask for their input. IF I can get at least 2 out 4 to give me a suggestion about what they would like to eat for dinner, then there's 2 less thoughts that this exhausted brain has to come up with on its own.
2) I have them write things on the dry erase on the fridge as they run out of it or decide they need it so that it is there when I am making the list for the store. This means that I don't have to read their minds, like they apparently think that I can.
3) I take one of them with me to the store. Yep, I am not doing that by myself. I usually take one of the boys. Littlest Little is actually the best shopper. He is a no non-sense guy like me. We get in and we get out. Chickadee ups my grocery bill by about $20 every time because she throws stuff into the cart when I'm not looking and then distracts me when we are at the checkout- I am aware of her evil plan, and yet she gets me. Every. Time.
4) Once it's all purchased, they (usually the boys) help me decide what night we will have which meal- that way we can put it into MEAL BOARD and on calendar. We take into account who has to stay after for what on which day and how long that certain meal takes to prepare and who all will be home to be at the table that night. Whew- there's a lot to consider!
5) And of course, we all play a part in the cleaning up. Mine is small. I took a stand on my 40th and made sure that everyone was either proficient or above average when it came to the kitchen chores!
So even though I do have quite a bit to do when it comes to preparing for the coming week's meals, there is help. There are the occasional moans and groans and resistance to the plan- but then I snap out of it and realize that it could be worse, I could be totally on my own when it comes to all this work. Therefore I am thankful for the pitching in that they do!
Tonight, I want to share with you how I get my list together for the store. I NEVER enter the store without a list. That is shopping suicide. It must be a thorough and complete list with all the meals' ingredients, lunches, toiletries, cleaning products, etc. 'Cause I am only going to the store once a week. That is it. No more. No less.
After the meals that are going to be prepared for the week are chosen, I have to get the ingredients listed. The list that I use helps me to do both. I made a simple template for my grocery list on a spreadsheet. Take a look.
See where it says "Ideas"? I use this column to help when we are picking meals. If someone calls a pasta dish, I write it there and then no one else can pick another pasta dish. The same goes for soups. One heavy soup a week is enough. And so on for sandwiches- we consider those to be anything that has buns or rolls, burgers, BBQ chic, dagwoods, etc. And I usually like to only have one meal a week that is chicken (prepared a million ways), a starch, and a vege. The "Ideas" section is categorized the same way as my MealBoard, but there wasn't enough room to add all the categories to the list so there are blank spaces for adding in others.
After we have at least 6 meals in the Ideas, we move them over to "Meals" and add sides. Then I can start filling in the rest of the list. Going one meal at time, placing each ingredient in its spot. (I print the template, and write in the items).
Things that we get every week are already printed on the list. And the list kind of follows the steps we take in the store. Like a map.
My written list always looked like this- little untitled columns that only I understood why they were where they were on the paper! So I decided to make it a little neater and easy for anyone to read. Not that anyone else is going to go do the shopping, but a girl can dream!!!
If you haven't read the Hallelujah praise that I have for MealBoard, check that out here. I am still loving all the simplicity it has brought to my life!
I've added a link my List here so that you can grab it, make a copy, and edit it to fit your needs.
Grab it here .
Would love to hear in the comments if you found this helpful!
Have a great week!