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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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