Monthly Meal Planning – FREEBIE ALERT!

I write a lot about super serious things here – reflective, heart things. And I like that because I want you to know that you’re not the only one that deals with the hard stuff while you smile and love and give. However, I also want you to know that there are tools and ways to make the practical side of life easier! I want you to know that I act like an idiot with my kids. That when I’m away from them for a few hours and then return, I’m so glad to see their little faces. I want you to know that while I yearn for all sorts of things that aren’t yet mine, that may never be mine, I also feel enormously grateful for all the things I do have. Sometimes I am so full up with joy and gratitude that I feel like I might bust. I want you to know that while I wrestle with defeat and the feeling of being utterly overwhelmed, I have also collected a few tricks that help our family do “us.”

That’s the truth.

A few months ago, I posted on Instagram (my favorite social media platform, btw) about monthly meal planning and grocery shopping and a lot of you were super curious about how that works.

Here’s the deal – I’m a 60% right-brainer and a 40% left brainer. While that can be wildly helpful in the skill set department, it can also make me straight crazy in the balance department. What I mean is, if I was primarily right-brained, it would be far easier for me to focus on crafts and play time and big, fun hooplah with my family – and embrace a little more chaos. If I was primarily left-brained, it would be far easier for me to focus on details and schedules and discipline – and embrace a little more structure. I would naturally lean a good bit in one direction or the other…I think. And as long as they are not competing against one another, I do just fine. But since I am both, and motherhood absolutely does require full function of the right and left brain, it behooves me to take some detail, decision-making out of my everyday. The details drain me while I’m trying to be present with my people – and it matters very much to me that I be present with my people. Also, I actually love to cook – it’s grounding and rhythmic nature is nourishment for my creative, introverted soul. When all the people need me and I really just need to get something on the ever-lovin’ table, things start to unravel.

Good planning makes space for more settled meal times, and some of my most treasured childhood memories revolve around meal times – because we all sat around a set table – with glass plates and real silverware, and ate a meal at least 4 nights/week. This is a thing that is important for me to accomplish in my own home. Monthly meal planning is one way I am able to throw myself a bone and, every once in a while, enjoy cooking a meal! Want to hear how it works AND get your own FREE, color-coded menu calendar?

FAN-tastic.

  1. Breakfast & Lunch – I hate the process of deciding what’s to eat for breakfast and lunch. I really don’t mind preparing it, but I’m not a fan of choosing items and having my kids decide they don’t want what I chose. This way, they know what’s coming. If they choose not to eat, too bad, so sad. They can eat better at the next meal. So, I plan a week’s worth and then repeat them every week.
  2. Supper – I plan my suppers (or dinners) by month. I cook 4 times/week. I repeat that same menu every month for that season. The one pictured here is for summer. So, we eat a different meal every night for 4 weeks. Then, I rinse, wash, and repeat until the next season rolls around.
  3. Snacks – I actually used to plan all of our snacks, too, but I found that this was an area that we just needed wiggle room on. So, I usually have a salty cracker – like goldfish or peanut butter crackers, a sweet – like graham crackers or animal crackers, and some fruits and veggies. This keeps everyone content while also keeping the grocery bill down.
  4. Monthly – I actually don’t shop by month very often simply because plans change, meals get skipped, and I end up with way more pasta in my pantry than I’ll actually need for quite a while. You absolutely could take this a step further and store a grocery list with the menu for what you’d need each week. I just like to make mine all at once and add in the basics I’ll need for the week. I shop every Monday (ideally), and since I always have at least one child with me, it is more valuable to me to shop the same grocery store where I know every aisle and can get in and out as quickly as possible than it is to “deal” shop.
  5. Make Ahead – I try to prepare as much ahead as possible. Some of these meals are super easy to make a big batch of and freeze half, etc. This makes my life so very much easier!
And that’s it! This isn’t rocket science and for some of you, it’ll sound like the worst idea in the world. Totally fine! Go on out withca bad self and come up with your own way of making space to enjoy the things and people you love.

If, however, you feel excited about this option…download either my summer menu or a blank one for you to fill out on your own! Another option is to buy a super cheap calendar and fill it out with your own color coding system. You do you, sister. You do you.


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD MY SUMMER MENU

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD BLANK MENU

2 Comments

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  1. 2
    Emily Blackwell

    Okay, they are really just glorified pigs in a blanket! You buy puff pastries, roll them out flat, spoon raw ground sausage down the center, add some cheddar, and bake them! So simple – my kids really love them!

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