Keeping It on Track

Meal planning….I know, you just cringed. It’s okay, I promise taking twenty minutes out of your week to do this will make your life so much easier!
Some of you are thinking…”You are a stay at home mom Bonnie, you don’t understand…”
Full disclosure? When I was working (which has been the past twelve years) I would meal plan whenever I could fit it in. When I worked an office job I would do it between phone calls and data entry, when I was a manager of a receiving team for a retail store we would bounce recipes off of each other, and when I worked for an insurance company I had a running document of meal planning to do whenever I had a second. This sounds excessive right? Like, wow Bonnie you are an extreme meal planner!
I kind of am, but it is because I am also a stickler about a budget.
I did the math and for the amount of money we spend on all the groceries we buy, we spend around 7.50 per meal. That is for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for four people for seven days.
Now I don’t know about you all, but we don’t have an unlimited budget. So when we started wondering where all our money was going and saw it was going to Buffalo Wild Wings and Olive Garden we knew we had to step up our dinner game. We could spend sixty to seventy dollars on dinner, or we could put that in a rainy day fund for a family adventure. Family adventures are a little more exciting to our kiddos right now, and so the dedicated meal planning began.
I have a few rules for my meal planning because I have a life and I want to get on with it. I am not going to lie, since starting this blog meal planning has been almost easier because I know three weeks in advance what I’m wanting to make for the blog so I just build from there.
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Rule 1
Be realistic
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My friends are always posting this and I love it because it is so true!  I used to think that meal planning and home cooked meals meant I had to make everything from scratch, fresh ingredients, and extra sprinkles of love.
Um, no.
Are your kids in after school activities?  You better believe some sloppy joes, crockpot lasagna, and frozen pizza are going to be on that list.  The point is you’re eating at home, and staying on budget.
Rule 2
Pick a theme for a day
I’ve said before Saturdays are soup Saturday at our house, but Wednesday is also frozen pizza night.  Every. Single. Week.
I’ve seen people do Taco Tuesday, which doesn’t have to be tacos, it could be home made crunch wraps, Mexican stuffed shells, quesadillas….you get my drift.
Another great thing about theme nights are you can organize your pinterest boards for easy recipe look ups.
I have something like 3,000 pins on my board Food I WILL make…guess what gets super tiresome?  Scrolling through all of that!  So I took some time to organize my boards and it has definitely cut down on time spent planning.
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Rule 3
Know your schedule.
I know Monday’s Kaelin has skate for at least two hours, Tuesday’s we have basketball for two hours, and Wednesday we have church…so on and so on. So I make my meal plan reflect my availability.
Do you think I can get the kids from school, homework done, to ice skating, and in bed by 8 and also throw in cooking a meal? If you do you may have put me in a bit of a pedestal 😉
If something pops up I have been known to totally panic, and there have definitely been nights when I planned on making something super easy but was so tired we still just hit the drive through….and sometimes a drive through is my meal plan for that day!
Rule 4
The final rule I stick to is- don’t complicate it. I’ve seen so many printables and downloads for weekly or monthly meal plans….and if you can use them totally do it! I think they’re super cute and one day I hope to have a printed out fancy meal plan, but for now a notebook and a picture on my phone will have to work!
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You see hot dog buns on there? Oh yeah I’m totally making chili cheese dogs this week.
So anyway…
I write it, I shop, I take a picture so I can remember what my great ideas for the week were.
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This is what my list looks like after I’ve been shopping with a baby in a sedan….it’s still not pretty but it’s mostly legible. As long as I don’t ask my husband to read it 😝

So I hope this has inspired you, will maybe make your life less complicated(at least at dinner time) and helped you realize that yes, most moms are totally serving sloppy joes and chips in the same week with hot dogs…The point is sitting around the table, talking, praying, hoping your husband and kids don’t start a fart war…oh unclutch your pearls if it hasn’t happened yet it’s going to 😉
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