Sanity In My Kitchen

My mom always told me that the best way to save money, save time, stay organized, and keep your sanity in regards the kitchen is:

#1 – have a menu and follow it
#2 – never go to bed with a messy kitchen
#3 – buy staple foods in bulk and/or on sale (preferably both)

Going to bed with a clean kitchen is pretty much the norm in our house. I suppose growing up with that made it a fairly easy practice to adopt. To me, going to bed with a messy kitchen is like going to bed with an angry spouse. you know what you’re going to wake up to and it isn’t gonna be pretty. I don’t know anyone who PREFERS to start the day like that.
Buying food in bulk is easy (most of the time). However, without a plan to ration the bulk one tends to use it up quickly. For example, when a meat is on sale for $1.29/lb I’ll get super excited and buy at least 20lbs of it. But then it turns into the next 10 meals and it is gone. I tend to use the bulk IN bulk and get sick of eating it. Not a good practice to keep. But the thought of meal planning seemed kind of daunting to me. I did not want to commit to an entire 4 week cycle of menus especially since I didn’t know what was going to be on sale and when. What about craving certain meals? How does spontaneity fall in there? What if I come across a new recipe I want to try? etc. So I settled for going week to week instead. And through trial and error, I figured out a general outline that has suited us well for over a year now. It offers flexibility, variety, and balance. I hope it helps you (if you are interested)…..

BREAKFAST
     Sunday: omelets and toast
     Monday: cold cereal, fruit
     Tuesday: hot cereal
     Wednesday: eggs, bacon, toast
     Thursday: cold cereal, fruit
     Friday: pancakes, sausage, (eggs)
     Saturday: cold cereal, fruit

LUNCH
     *leftovers
     *Mac N Cheese
     *PB and J
     *grilled cheese or quesadilla

DINNER (meat + carb + veggie)                                               
     Sunday: homemade pizza night
     Monday: beef
     Tuesday: chicken
     Wednesday: vegetarian meal and/or soup
     Thursday: pork
     Friday: fish
     Saturday: venison or leftovers

carb options (whole grains): pasta, potatoe, rice, beans, bread

This general outline has been the basis of my menu planning and shopping for many many months. We have saved SO MUCH MONEY planning our meals ahead of time. By doing that, I know what to shop for and how much I need. I don’t waste nearly as much food. When it comes time to making dinner, I KNOW I have the ingredients for what I’ve planned to make (saves so much time and thought). We aren’t eating the same things over and over again. Did I mention that it saves a ton of money this way? I have my list of “staple foods” that I stalk up on each week like crackers, cheese, milk, butter, eggs, baking goods, etc. Then all I have to pick up is whatever the recipes call for.

I hope this helps for all those interested……

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Bare Naked Alpacas….

Here are a few of the before and after photos. The “during” photos will come soon.

Shearing day was so much fun! It went from a normal shearing appointment to an all out yard party. Brian Fitzpatrick is our shearer. He and his family were traveling to a family event for the weekend. We happened to be on their way. So we figured since the wife and kids are along we’ll plan on having a supper for everyone. My parents heard about it and asked if they could come and watch/spend part of the weekend here. SURE! Why not. John’s parents were interested in seeing it too so they planned on coming. A few people from town heard about it so they showed up. A couple guys John works with stopped by with their wives. And the neighbors decided they’d like to see what all the fuss is about and showed up later in the evening. Needless to say we served about 40 people (15 of which were kids age 8 and under….YIKES!). It was fun. I think next year we will actually PLAN for the party and send out fliers or something.

Okay, the before and after…..

A Fellow Blogging Mommy….

I have to pass this blog on. I don’t think she’ll mind. Heck, that’s what this whole “mommy blogging” is about anyway…..supporting eachother. Sharing. Mallory is actually the little sister of a high school friend and she married one of my brother’s childhood best friends. We go back. But I think we’ve found a kinship in the blogging world, parenthood, and faith. She is a fantastically REAL mom with 2 young boys. She loves her faith, her family, her husband, and her life. Mallory’s blog is definitely one to take a peek at.

Butterflies and Weak Knees

Yeah. I just can’t help myself. I’m just wondering if there is anyone else out there who goes weak in the knees, gets butterflies, and needs a fan when your husband or significant other wears sunglasses and/or a tool belt.??? There is just something about my man when he’s working outside with power tools and a shovel that gets me all worked up.

Cheers to all those women who caught themselves a hard working handy man.

Good luck and happy hunting to those who are still looking. 😉