Saturday, January 30, 2010

#1 habit - menu planning

this habit seems to be all over the mama-blogs but this is the first time i have actually jumped on the band-wagon! i have a white board that is up in my kitchen. i have breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner posted for the entire week. i am very specific and fastidious about meal times. reason being - kids love a routine. the menu does a number of things:

1. eliminates the constant questions of what are we having for dinner? snack? etc. this usually sapped about 1/2 of my energy just answering. so no more questions. i point them to the board.
2. no more arguments over what we are eating - if its on the board there are NO changes. its whats for dinner, if you don't like it, then don't eat. no complaining. and absolutly no short-orders for this cook.
3. they eat their veggies (i give them veggies and main course first) because they are actually hungry at meal times! they haven't been snacking all day. yes they are cranky come dinner but that was always how the witching hour was anyway. i just keep referring them to the menu board and saying cheerfully, "i am so glad that you are hungry b/c dinner is almost ready!"
4. although i don't actually have proof of this - i think, i will be saving money for our family. if we have all the things for our weekly menu, then i am not running to the store for odds and ends, thereby probably buying extra groceries and racking up the bill at the check out line. if anyone has proof of this please post in the comments b/c i would love to know.

tomorrow: #2 habit "the rule is..."


  1. the use of the word habit is taken from charlotte mason

  2. Esther, you *will* begin to see great savings when you do this. Check my food blog for the $100 a week grocery challenge post. Another money saver is to develop a few meals that you can easily make out of your pantry and keep your pantry stocked - we all know that life happens. For example, yesterday would have been my shopping day but because of the snowstorm, no go. Jim stopped at the store on his way home Friday and got milk, eggs, and fruit, but I had to use my pantry to cook yesterday and today. Yesterday I made what I call Garbage Can Vegetable Soup, where I took all the leftover vegetables and the stock from the last time I roasted chicken and made stock from the bones, and made a simple soup. I then made homemade dinner rolls, which only required that I have the basics, including yeast, on hand. Tonight I'm making spaghetti with Italian sausage. I keep pasta and jarred sauce in the pantry at all times, and turkey Italian sausage is always stocked in the freezer. If we are snowed in another day, we have plenty of leftovers to tide us over until I can get to the store.

    I agree with #2 and #3 as well. Works great!

    I have to tell you I like to be more spontaneous than you, though, as far as lining meals up. I have so many meals planned over a payday, and I wait until the night before, or even that morning, before deciding what to make on any particular night. That gives me flexibility to go out on short notice, or have someone over for dinner. That's just what fits better with my personality.

    Oh, and for breakfast and lunch, I started teaching the kids simple meals when they are about 7 or so, and they have transitioned into fixing their own breakfasts and lunches. This way they get what they want to eat (within reason). They just need to eat a balanced meal, with milk and a fruit or vegetable, and clean up after themselves.

    I'm hoping soon to teach them to cook whole dinners and give them each one evening a week as their own responsibility.

  3. wow - i love your idea for teaching the kids to make their own b'fasts and lunches! we are almost there - kyrie and rhys like to make their own sandwiches! we go very simple in the morning around here - granola bars, cold cereal, milk, juice, soy milk and fruit. on days we walk to school (most days!) then i just have a pile of granola bars or cereal bars and sippie cups on hand for them to eat as we walk.

    don't you love a stocked pantry with the "essentials"! we do that too and it makes shopping/meal planning/extra mouths to feed so much easier!

    i will def. take a look at your grocery challenge! thanks for your comment. bless you! enjoy the snowstorm! my kids miss it! (however i am loving monterey weather!)


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