I’m very happy to report that Day 1 of Operation: Real Dinner was a success. Lately, out of laziness, I have been alternating between a long pasta (linguine or spaghetti) and a short pasta (penne or macaroni) for dinner, with maybe rice or mashed potatoes here and there. Sometimes a meat. Maybe a vegetable. But last night, since I PLANNED, we had a protein, a starch, and salad! I did end up taking ALL FOUR KIDS to the grocery store after all. I ran out of spray partway through cleaning the bedroom carpet and I needed to get it over with so the carpet could dry before bedtime. While I was picking up another can of spray, I also bought bagged salad because, it was on the schedule, and the one in the fridge had gone bad. (If I hadn’t gone to the store, I would have just served a different vegetable.) Little Man (age 3) had a small tantrum when I wouldn’t let him return the basket to the front of the store by himself, to which the young cashier graciously responded, “That’s how I feel when I’m here, too.” But we survived.
Turkey chili, cornbread muffin, butter lettuce with radicchio
The calendar I used came from the Microsoft Office website. You can also create printable calendars at timeanddate.com. Fridays are blank because we usually have pizza.
It bears repeating:
~~A wife of noble character, who can find … She provides food for her family. (Proverbs 31:10a, 15b, NIV)~~
image credit: wendys.com
Saturday is my usual day to shop for groceries. Yesterday, with the current Check In in mind, I tried to shop more “consciously.” Instead of just buying what I always buy, I tried to buy what would get us through to next Saturday (and spent half as much as I usually do). I didn’t buy meat because I knew we had chicken breasts and some ground beef in the freezer. I didn’t buy cereal because we already had two boxes, and even though that won’t get us through the week (there are six of us), there’s oatmeal and other things to eat for breakfast. I do sometimes overbuy, because I don’t want to get to Wednesday afternoon with nothing to make for dinner, and then have to take ALL FOUR KIDS to the grocery store. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it if I have to, but it’s so nice to just push that cart through the grocery store all by myself on Saturday mornings.
But why do I get to Wednesday afternoon with nothing to make for dinner? Dinnertime seems to come as a surprise to me almost every night. And I can get away with “silly dinner” only so often. That’s when I offer something wild and crazy like cereal or frozen waffles for dinner. (And Dad gets Subway. But he really likes Subway. I promise!) Such a meal contains many essential vitamins and minerals, but since it is also sweet, the kids may not realize that it’s just my “clever” way of not cooking. I have to use it judiciously.
Even though I’ll be tracking spending for the next two weeks, I also wanted to see how I’ve been doing, so I added up transactions for the past 30 days. I made some kind of food purchase over 30 times–whether it was groceries, a quick stop for fries “for the kids,” or it’s-Wednesday-and-we-are-not-going-to-the-grocery-store-but-I-don’t-mind-Wendys-drive-thru.
It’s pretty obvious that I can avoid silly Wednesdays and over-shopping with some planning. I’ve done meal planning in the past. Nothing fancy. I just print out a calendar and spend a few minutes penciling in meals for the month. The meals aren’t fancy either–just a rotation of the eight or so meals we typically eat. But it’s amazing how free I feel when I look at that calendar at 4 PM and I KNOW WHAT WE’RE HAVING FOR DINNER. And it doesn’t come out of a fry basket! So I’m going to print out a calendar tonight and buy myself a little freedom!
~~A wife of noble character, who can find … She provides food for her family. (Proverbs 31:10a, 15b, NIV)~