Monday, February 1, 2010
The Monthly Rhythm Question
Our meal planning menu
I received quite a few e-mails over the weekend about my rhythm post on The Magic Onions, and I wanted to thank everyone for them. They mean a lot to me! There were a few questions asked and I am still trying to answer them all, but I did notice there was one question in particular that was asked quite a few times : Do we really only get groceries 1-2 times a month?! I have to start out by saying I did make a mistake on that post by saying we run errands/shop for groceries 1-2 times a month. I really should have separated errands and groceries; errands 1-2 times a month and grocery shopping 2 times a month.
Grocery shopping can be quite overwhelming to little ones and adults alike. Especially when you are on a tight budget and have to compare prices and write out the math to see how much you are spending the whole time. On top of that, we go to 2-3 different places for our food so it ends up being at least a half a day ordeal. With all of that in mind and our need for a strict budget I knew I needed to start meal planning.
I can remember my mother doing this when I was little. Every two weeks we went grocery shopping together and she would bring her list of meals she planned on making the next two weeks and she would always stick with it. That's just the way we did our groceries and what I was used to. It's funny because once I was out on my own I didn't follow that routine. It actually wasn't until we moved to Oregon that I saw how important my mother's wisdom was.
Our budget shrank dramatically and we really needed to save as much money as possible. Plus I was constantly getting burned out with the never ending question of what's for dinner. I became inspired to re-discover meal planning by my wonderful Season's Round Exchange (Autumn)partner Meg and her post on her family's menus.
Since my husband is always paid on the first and fifteenth of every month we planned our budget and meals around that. So about every two weeks, I sit down and plan our meals for the next fifteen days (with input from my husband and the girls) then we venture out and gather our food, armed with a planned out menu and list of needed ingredients.
I like to have the menu out in easy view for reference so we use one of the many watercolor paintings K makes every week and write out our menu on that then put it in a frame by the kitchen sink. Now, I should say that I don't follow the menu exactly. For example, I have subji and pooris listed for dinner Thursday night but if I have a hard day and don't have the energy for that I might pick something more simple from another day on the menu and make that instead. I always cross off the meal I made so that way I know what ingredients I have left without ever even looking in the pantry. Not only does this save us time and headaches but it also saves money. Before we would wander the grocery stores aimlessly just buying things that looked good but didn't necessarily make a meal. Now everything is organized and brings a better rhythm to our nights.
Preparing for Candlemas
Sorry, that was a lot of writing this time around! I hope that helped to explain our grocery rhythm a little better and answered any questions you had.
Wishing you all a joyful Candlemas tomorrow!!