Monday, May 11, 2009



So, this has come up several times over the past couple of weeks, and since is the kind of thing that seems to spark interested, I'll share.

We live an hour from any sort of respectable grocery store. Yes, we have a little IGA here in Fairview and a Glen's in Mio, and while I would love to be able to buy locally, it just isn't in the budget for us. Things are so much more expensive and the selection is very limited.

So, even with the gas to get there and back, it really does make more sense to head to Gaylord, Alpena, or West Branch once a month to stock up on food.

Now, this means that I have to use about as much brain power to plan out what we need for a month as it did to plan a unit for a class I was teaching. No lie. And since inquiring minds like Pam and Rachael want to's what happens...

First, I have a calendar on my desk. Same place that it was when I taught, only now instead of units and meetings, it has babysitting, doctor's appointments, and meals.

I fill in all the stuff that is going to happen in our month, retreats, trips downstate, potlucks, anything that we need to know as a family. That also helps me figure out what meals I need to plan for.

From there I brainstorm a list of meals, scouring cookbooks, Noah's brain, etc. Mainly I am looking for main courses, because the sides I usually come up with that day. Next, pencil in the meals on days, trying to stagger things that might be similar. We don't want hamburgers, chili, and meatloaf all in one week...not that I ever make meatloaf...I really can't stand the stuff. Also, if that day I don't feel like making whatever the calendar "says," I don't. Let's not get all ridged here, ok? That is not how I roll.

From there, I make my grocery list, knowing that some things won't be bought because they won't be on sale, or the produce won't look great or whatever. I don't do coupons usually, because I don't get the paper, and because we live so far away, the sales fliers are hard to get I wait until I get to the store to make some of those decisions. Remember I said this took as much brain power as planning an entire unit?

When we head to the store, which usually requires a whole day that Noah has off, because no, I haven't attempted this feat with both boys without him yet. He usually takes Forrest and I take Elliot, the lesser of the distracters now.

Not only am I looking for groceries, but also anything else like light bulbs, diapers, laundry detergent, and band aids. When we first moved here, I would stress out and get all panicky when I went to "town" because I knew that if I forgot something, it was going to be at least a month before I could get it again. I have gotten better at keeping lists around the house for what we are running low on.

Here is the meals for the month of May, which was an easy month, because we have a lot going on in camp this month.

Week of April 27
Loaded Potatoes
Chicken and Pasta
Pizza (homemade)

Weekend we were gone

Week of May 4
Chicken Curry

Weekend we ate in camp

Week of May 11
Stir Fry
Everything Chicken
Pizza (homemade)

Weekend in Camp

Week of May 18
Anniversary dinner out (yes, we have to go an hour away for this)
Pizza (homemade)
Rice and Beans and Cheese

Memorial Day Family Camp (Can't wait to see you Pam)
2 week Workshop for the Summer Staff
And almost no cooking for the rest of the summer!

Couple of things...
  • I have a chest freezer, so I buy duplicates of some things and freeze.
  • I get fresh veggies for as long as I think they will last. We also eat frozen veggies which are almost as good for you as fresh. They are much better than canned. And yes, you can steam them.
  • Since I have started making homemade yogurt, bread, and tortillas, I don't have to worry about running out. They are also so much cheaper! Especially since we get milk and flour from camp for almost nothing.
  • For things like cereal, snacks, etc. I am getting pretty good at knowing how much we need for the month. But when we first moved here, I multiplied how much we went through in a week by 4. So, we go through a pack of cream cheese a week, so now I get about 3 and make it strech.
  • I really try to provided my family with the healthiest, whole foods I can. Yes, this requires more time, but honestly, we don't have much of an option. The closest restaurant is a Micky D's about 20 minutes away.

When we moved here, I really felt like I could start to focus on what my family ate. And honestly, I was a bit overwhelmed. I didn't really know where to start. But it dawned on me one day, "God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3), maybe I should pray about this!" So, I did. "God teach me how to feed my family."

And God has been faithful to show me. I have learned a little here, a little there, and slowly, over the last year and a half, we have shifted our eating habits. There are something that I now buy that are a bit more, but they are so much better for us. I really believe that you are what you eat, and so if we are spending a bit more for healthier foods, we will spend less on things like medical care, dental bill, etc.

Well, that was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be. But it's good stuff. And a big part of being mom. I want to train my boys bodies to know the good stuff from the bad so it is just instictive to them to pick the healthy option over the junk. And trying to do that all while remaining sane is a challenge. I have to remind myself a lot hat God is going to show me. I just need to rely on Him.

So there you go.


  1. Girl, you are brave. Very brave. And WAY more organized than I am.

  2. You are SO MUCH more organized that I am. I'm impressed!
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Can't wait to see you in a couple weeks!

  3. If ever you would like to try to add coupons into the process, has all of the coupons from the paper and more that you can download and print for free.

    Thanks for sharing a little more of your life.

  4. Well girls, I am only organized because I have to be. Before we lived here, I was shopping every week! I wish in some ways I still could.


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