I have a routine every pay day that makes my life SO much easier! This routine has made my home organization so much better and I'd love to share it with you. Every two weeks on the day before payday, I sit down with a blank calendar and three lists.
List #1: the breakfast list. I asked my family to list for me the breakfasts that they enjoy. We now have a list of about eight breakfasts on the breakfast list.
List #2: the lunch list. See the description of list number one and insert "lunch" where it says "breakfast."
List #3: the snack list. This is a list of snacks I would like to keep on hand for the boys during the day.
On my blank calendar, I draw two horizontal lines on each calendar square. On the block for the first day after pay day in the top third of the square, I list the first item from the breakfast list. I continue across the calendar putting breakfasts in the first third of each square until the next payday. Then I write down any grocery items I'll need to have on hand for those breakfasts. Then I repeat this process for lunches.
Next I consult the snack list and write on my grocery list which items I'll need to replentish.
Now, we're ready to plan supper. I ask my family if there is anything that they would like to eat for supper over the next two weeks. The boys are usually full of ideas! I try to accomodate any requests but I do add vegetables or a salad to most suggestions. I take all of the family's meal plans, add my own preferences, and any new recipes I'd like to try and plot these onto the menu calendar. Then I list all my grocery needs for supper.
At the end of this process, I have a grocery list ready to go to the store on payday and a complete menu right down to the snacks for the next two weeks. But the truly beautiful thing is when my day or week gets busy. Instead of feeling frantic about what to make for supper, or making the same breakfast for the fifth day in a row, I have a plan! This has taken the anxiety out of meal times for me. I have to keep my eye on the calendar to make sure I have things defrosted or marinated, but other than that, my life is simpler because of my menu calendar.
When making my menu, I do have a few rules. The breakfast plan for Sunday morning is usually a breakfast casserole. Sunday's can be a little hectic as we are getting ready for church and Sunday School. It makes things a little less stressful when I can just pull a casserole out of the refrigerator and pop it into the oven. By the time we're dressed, breakfast is ready! Also, I am always open to change. If Daddy wants to make waffles on a Saturday morning, we make waffles. If we have LOTS of leftovers in the refrigerator, we have leftover night and move a supper to the next week. And I'm ALWAYS open to dinner out when Daddy says, "Let's go out!"
That's how I plan my meals and groceries every two weeks. It does take at least an hour, but it involves the whole family. They are eatting the breakfasts and lunches that they originally suggested. They have input into what we have for supper. And I never hear "We're having this again?" The time it takes to plan is well worth it. With minimal effort, I always have the answer to "What's for supper?"