"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."


What blog is about Intro

Come on in and sit awhile while I talk about the "Little Things" in life. I will share my journey of everyday life.... homeschooling, raising my children, homesteading, gardening, health and wellness, and real life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meal Planning Thoughts and My Crazy Whims

I know I need to get organized and my life will be easier, but Cody and I are both such "on the whim" kind of people.  Well, I am pretty organized for the most part, but we tend to be the kind of people that LIKE to be open to changing our plans on a whim.  Or we used to be.....  Really, we aren't really so much that way anymore, but we do change our "plan" a lot if we have one in place.  We just don't really LIKE doing that like we used.  We have so many here that we know we need the structure more.  I might make out a dinner plan for the week and seriously by the end of the week we might have actually stuck to the plan about half the time.  I have to say that our weeks still go easier if there is that guideline, but it is frustrating to have a plan in place and look back on it and know that you do not necessarily stick to it.  Sometimes I might have Spaghetti on the menu with homemade rolls and salad, but when that day comes around I feel like making homemade pizza, salad, and fruit instead.  Silly me... I should stick to my plan, but I am too driven by my whims. 

Honestly, I am not much of a housewife.  Don't get me wrong... I am committed to my family and all that jazz, but I am talking about all these "womanly duties".  I was much better suited in many ways to the bookkeeping/accounting/secretarial work jobs that I had in my pre-mother days.  I was very efficient, punctual, neat, and all those things I needed to be for that job.  Of course, thinking about it I am sure that is because there are so many dynamics to be a mother and housewife.  Sad to say, but I really don't want to dust the furniture.... like ever.  Ughhh.... does that make me lazy?!  I don't think so really.  I just don't really have a great interest in that being done.  I mean, I want it done... I just don't want to spend my life dusting.  I would much rather go outside with my kids.  Pathetic to admit all this, right?  And I want you to know that I am that momma that gets up and gets the kids and me dressed (some days... Hahaha!) and then, puts away the dishes from the prior day, makes sure the kids eat cereal or I cook breakfast.  We clean up and get on with our day taking care of animals and doing school while chasing toddlers around the house.  We have lunch almost everyday at noon.  Straight up noon!  I like a schedule and for things to be mostly the same each day.  I change diapers frequently, wipe nasty hands and faces, keep my little ones mostly clean... well, maybe not so much those two cRaZy ones (Caden and Sahara) that are always getting into something muddy, wet, or sticky... but I try..... confession: some days they just wear their underwear because it saves me laundry.  Yep, see... maybe I am lazy... but seriously, I don't think it is really possible to be fully lazy when you have five kids (and a husband).  I am constantly sweeping it seems.  I remember when I rarely had to sweep.  Now, it has to be done.  Has to!!  And that blasted drought we had this past year killed a lot of our grass and we have gone from having a lush green lawn to dirty, patchy grass that makes a mess of my floors.  I am forever sweeping these floors. 

And I really enjoy the "man duties" like mowing and gardening or building and repairing things.  I am not your average girl.  My mother was forever dusting and cleaning... doing perfect laundry... vacuuming, sweeping, mopping... preparing her dinner idea long before lunch was accomplished.... painting her fingernails and spending two hours putting her face on.  I am not that kind of girl.  Just let me get out of the house and we are good, but I do want the inside cleaned and organized and running smoothly.  I will do it... I just don't feel natural in doing it sometimes. 

But I was talking about menu planning wasn't I?  Well, I have my cute little file here waiting on me to work on it.  Ughhhh... it is staring at me even... taunting me.... I never quite stick to this, but I NEED to.  As you see I am procrastinating and writing this blog post instead, though.  I want to be one of those gals that using their great binder system like my friends Tara and Quinn.  Oh, how they inspire me.  And I start kicking it all around and then... that's as far as it goes.  ;)  And one of the reasons is that I seem to complicate things.  I organize the organization.  You know.... like I have to rearrange a whole shelf to sit my sweet little binders on and then, I end up with a pile of stuff from the shelf stacked somewhere else and then, I need to organize that, and so on and so on and so on.  Only I never seem to complete the things I intend to before someone or something distracts me. 

So, here's what I have in my little folder.  It is a hanging file and is labelled, "Meal Planning". 
  • I have weekly menu planning sheets (blank) with the seven days of the week calendar style and a large square each for B (breakfast), L (lunch), and D (dinner).  At the bottom of the sheet is a shopping list section for listing any items needed for that particular week.  I only write in the items that I need to buy (I mean, WHEN I use this... ha!).
  • My shopping list check off sheet.  This list all the items I usually buy.  I simply go through the list and check off the things I need to purchase.  I need to update this sheet, though.  Our Wal-Mart rearranged a while back (a long while back... ha!) and I never got this updated.  It is still usuable as is, but just not as efficient. 
  • I have a stack of index cards with sample "dinner meals" on them for inspiration.  The idea is to flip through and pull out a card and that is what you have for dinner.
  • Lists of Main Entrees categorized by meat type or other main ingredient.  These are all meals I cook.  There are over 50 main entrees on this list. 
  • Another list of about 15 complete meals with entrees and sides.
  • Another list (chart style) of sample meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (complete with alternative meal options for picky eaters).  (Oh my!)  (Examples are: Boiled egg & apples; Grilled Cheese & Apples; Ramen Noodle & Orange; Pizza/Pizza Pocket -- these were for times when Cody and I might want a meal that little ones did not like... old list... one spoiled rotten child... ha!)
  • Past weekly meal plans that I had actually used.
  • Calendar pages that I would sometimes write down our meals after the fact to see what actually works for meals in our life.
  • Old School Menu plans from when Savannah was in public school with notes for things that we actually did for lunch sometimes
  • Brochures for meal planning ideas and recipes tips.
Wow!  With all that in place you would think this would be an easy thing for me to do.  Maybe I will get on board this time.  Really, I have it pretty organized I just need to set aside some time to plan.  I think I will go to bed for now, but leave this folder on the dining table and discuss meal planning with my kids during breakfast.  If I had some people on board I think I would have success.  My biggest problem really is that I feel like I plan and then nobody wants to eat what is on the plan.  If they had a hand in the planning, then it would got better and relieve some of the burden off of me.  That has actually been one of my requests over the last year to my husband.  I told him I just need someone to give me dinner ideas rather than me plan it all alone.  His ideas are so not like mine, though.  And they are not at all healthy.  I want to provide healthy alternatives when possible.  Tonight I asked him what he would like for dinner tomorrow night.  He said, "Hamburgers and french fries."  I can tell you what else he would list.  ;)  Corndogs and french fries; Hotdogs and chips; Spaghetti and French Bread (maybe salad); Fried Fish and French Fries: etc..  The problem with this is that I kind of want us to all live a little longer, if possible.  Even if we were going to have Hotdogs I would want to have fresh fruit with it.  Spaghetti would include a salad or green beans.  Fried Fish would be served with brocolli and a pasta or rice dish.  I try to eliminate some of the fried things and replace with fruits or veggies.  Also, my meal ideas go more along the lines of Chicken Parmesan with pasta, salad, bread; Homemade Chicken Tenders with White gravy, brocolli, mashed potatoes; Pork Roast with Rice, Gravy, Corn, Mashed Potatoes, Biscuits; Taco Salad with dips and chips; Pork Chops, Mac-n-Cheese, Veggie Side, Sweet Peas; and such. 

Fast Forward 24 hours later....
Well, I DID actually work on that folder a bit.  And I explained it to my girls a bit.  They looked a little less than thrilled, but want to help plan.  I think my folder was a bit of an information overload for them.  ;)  As we had a breakfast of waffles (storebought frozen type... a rare thing) and scrambled eggs they helped me decide on lunch for the day and dinner also.  Sierra was suggesting hamburgers or porkchops for dinner, but Savannah pointed out that her mouth was hurting from losing a tooth the night before.  We decided on Chicken Gumbo... and Sierra requested rolls to go with it.  Interestingly, I still almost botched the plan even with having a plan in place.  ;)  I lost track of time to start the pot of chicken cooking, but I did still get it on in a reasonable time frame... but I did forget the bread altogether.  My poor brain has left me!  In the end we had two choices... Chicken Gumbo or Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo... with Crackers and it was yummo! 

Lunch ended up being canned peaches and Bean and Cheese Quesadillas.  I started making the kids Cream Cheese and Monterey Jack Quesadillas a while back when I was trying to eliminate orange food coloring from our diet some.  They got hooked.  I have sense made a million different versions of those Cream Cheese Quesadillas and they are almost always a winner.  To make them you simple spread some cream cheese on a tortilla.  Spread some refried beans over that and sprinkle on some grated Colby Jack Cheese.  Butter an iron skillet and cook on medium heat for a couple minutes, then remove and fold in half to serve. 

Anyway, the idea was to plan for the rest of the week, but it did not really happen because we had to prepare and have dinner and go to the store for groceries.  The good news is we now have some options for cooking and tomorrow over breakfast maybe we can get a couple of day planned out.  If we start slow things will improve I think. 

1 comment:

  1. Sweet Shannon
    You are doing a great job in mothering your little ones. Your efforts to teach and train them are pleasing to the Lord. What we do is not easy...ever! But it is the sweetest thing we will ever do. Each time you sweep your floor, you are serving the Lord. Each time you wipe that sweet little face, you are serving the Lord. You are a mother of five...YOU ARE EQUIPPED to do this well. But well in the eyes of the Lord. All he requires of us is to be a faithful steward. I am sure Quinn will agree with me that we do not use these binders because we are so perfect and organized, but because we need the help! ;) In the heat of the moment, my brain leaves me too! And really, these binders are a goal or our vision in way we feel we need to use our time and resources. Does it ever always get done? NO! But a faithful steward is blessed of the Lord. And all we want to do is to be faithful in what God has given us. You are a sweet momma. And you have all you need in you! You just need to give yourself more credit! When planning menus, seek to please your husband's taste buds and then add the healthy things to it. And the jobs you had before you were a momma, you still have those and are those in your home. But now, you are doing it for eternity! For the Lord! You can do this! But also know, that what faithful looks like in my home, might look different in your home. We all have different dynamics in our home. :) I once heard a sweet woman say "don't compare my outsides to your insides". Isn't that a profound saying? Don't we often fall into this? I am going to send you a few resources that have greatly blessed me. I LOVE YOU! You are an amazing woman!!!!


I love comments and suggestions! I read them all and I am so thrilled you are taking the time out of your busy life to share your words with me! --Shannon

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