I was nervous to write about meals because this is a weak spot of mine, something I’ve always wanted to improve. Then you add the fact that I’m still coming out of survival mode, with an almost 3 month old and still getting used to caring for 10 little children, and it makes it even more difficult. But, I figure you don’t want to hear just about what’s going good for us but also the process of figuring out how to have this big family of littles! So here is the survival edition of meal planning and preparation. When I feel like I’m in a good groove and have made some changes, I’ll write again!
I meal plan for a weeks worth of food, I have a list in the notes app on my phone that I use to decide what we’ll have for each day of the week and use that go grocery shopping each week. I usually spend about $175 a week on groceries and about once a month we’ll go to Sam’s Club and get diapers, formula, toilet paper, pull-ups, so that bill is higher.
Now I know all about the beauty of grocery pick up and have used it when I needed to, but I’m not much of a fan. First of all, I’ve found I don’t always write everything on my grocery list. I’m a ‘walk down the isle and think, oh ya, we’re out of oil!’ kind of gal; when I use it I never get everything I need. Second, I like to look at the prices and compare. Oft times they have only had the name brand items online, so my total was higher than if I went myself. Third, I usually have to wait a day or two to pick it up and I don’t plan that far in advance! And finally, I just would rather do it myself! That’s just my experience and personality, I’m weird, I know so many who LOVE it! I’d rather go with the younger kids during the day, as a family on Saturday (Jacob takes most of the kids and looks at “fun stuff”), or by myself on Saturday night.
I have such a hard time figuring out what to have for dinner so I have meals in certain categories that we usually have during the week:
- We’ll have breakfast food at least one night a week, it’s a crowd favorite and usually quick to whip up.
- One night we’ll have salad, my boys are getting better at eating it and know they need a little bit of lettuce but then can put as much toppings on as they want. We’ll also have dessert that night too encourage the salad eating.
- One night a week will be a date night for Jacob and I, occasionally we’ll get a babysitter but for the most part we’ll feed the kids cereal. It’s cheap, quick, and loved by all. Then we’ll put the kids to bed a bit early and while one of us is reading to them, the other will go out and grab us something to eat. We’ll have a night just for us to talk, play a game, watch a show, or go to bed early!
- Another night, usually a busy one, will be geared toward the crock pot with a soup or some sort of sauce over rice.
- The other nights are just easy meals like tacos, spaghetti, a frozen store bought meal, or one that I’ve doubled in the past and frozen. Something I have on hand and isn’t complicated to make.
When the meal is ready, I will dish it up for everyone, laying out 11 plates. Oft times Jacob and I will use the plastic child size plates or bowls, it’s good portion control! (Unless we don’t have anymore clean ones then we’ll use the “adult” bowls and the kids think they’re pretty cool.) Then we’ll all sit down at the table and eat together.