Simplicity: Meal Planning



Wanna know a secret? I suck at meal planning. I’ve never been awesome at it, but I used to be better than I am now. About two years ago, we (Will and I) devised a system in which I would grocery shop each day for that day’s food – kind of like the European model. (What I know of the European model, anyway. I’ve never been to Europe, so my knowledge is limited to what I learned in high school French class.) We decided to take this “route” because at the time, we lived in a small town. Really small. As in no street lights and the only “grocery store” (and I use that term very loosely) carried almost nothing fresh (a few bananas and moldy peaches/strawberries/bell peppers was the extent of the produce department) and charged double what a regular store would for the packaged stuff. The other option in town was a mini-mart whose owners bought their stock from Wal-Mart and marked them up from the already-retail price. So we decided, that as a way for me to make sure to get out of the apartment each day, I should take the car to the bigger town seven miles away and get groceries from a real store.

Since we moved to a bigger town half an hour away in December 2012 (the one I grew up in, actually), we’ve kept up with the daily shopping, just because it was we’d grown accustomed to. But now, I’m starting to feel like it’s becoming cumbersome. I want to spend my time hanging out with my boys, teaching them, playing with them. Not grocery shopping.

Which is going to require a fundamental change in the way I think about our food.

But change is good, right? 🙂

So here’s my plan. I’m going to make a weekly meal plan (inspired by this one from Confessions of a Homeschooler) and buy everything we need for the whole week (possibly excluding highly perishable produce – some things really are better to buy more frequently… although I might just buy that stuff too, and chop it all up and freeze it until it’s needed… we’ll see). The meal plan will include Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, and Dinner. For every single day. (My kids will be happy about the “snack” part – we never have snacks on hand.) I will then turn that meal plan into a grocery list, and on Tuesdays, I will go to the grocery store, just me (and probably Small Fry most weeks). Why Tuesdays? I thought about this a lot, and that’s the day that’s going to work best. Will typically works out of the house on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each week (it can vary week to week, but that’s the schedule I can count on). Sundays are a Sabbath, so no shopping then. Mondays … well, I could shop on Mondays, but this week, Wednesday worked best (he’s working from home all this week), and I didn’t want my shopping trips to be only five days apart this time.

So there you go.

How do you keep mealtime/grocery shopping simple? Help a girl out and share your tips!



Simplicity: The Lenten Season




Let me state first that we’re not Catholic. We don’t do Ash Wednesday. But the idea of Lent is a good one for Christians of all denominations anyway. Christ gave up his very life for us. Surely we can give up something of ourselves for him for these six weeks a year.

This year, we’re giving up processed sugar as a family. It might sound silly, but we like our sweets, so it’s a sacrifice for us. I know we can do it though. I know because we’ve done it before. When I was pregnant with Small Fry, I had gestational diabetes (I wasn’t allowed any processed sugar or fruit juice of any kind). In a show of support, my husband decided the rest of them would go off the sweets, too. It was probably the healthiest time of our lives. Hubby lost 20 pounds, I kept my weight steady, despite being pregnant (which means that I was losing weight as SF was gaining weight in utero).

It a simple thing that will bring us closer to God – every time we want a sweet treat, we’ll remember Christ’s sacrifice for us. I know, I know… The idea of giving up candy and cookies and brownies is nothing compared to what Jesus went through on the cross. Absolutely nothing. But it’s still a reminder of our faith and a way to help bring us closer to Christ.

Other ways giving up processed sugar will help us:

We’ll be healthier. Again. Hopefully we’ll lose some more weight. We’ll at least go through a detox of sorts, cleaning out our systems of all the junk we’ve allowed to be put into it.

We’ll save money. Fruit is more expensive than a candy bar, but it’s less expensive than 5 candy bars (one for each member of the family).

It will bring us closer as a family. Our kids have never really done Lent properly. I’m looking forward to expanding our Bible study with them as the season progresses, and helping them understand why we’re doing this. (They’re pretty copacetic about it now, but we’re only half a week in; I imagine in another week or so, they’ll need reminding as to why we’ve chosen this path. And that will be a glorious thing to explain to them even more about our Savior and why we’re celebrating – yes, celebrating – our lack of sugar for Him.)

Do you celebrate Lent? If so, what have you given up?