If you've been following along, you know that I'm not the most organized person, hence the many times-lost keys, the mixed up dates for preschool enrollment, the pile of papers on my kitchen counter (that I swear breed when I'm not looking!) Organization is something I have to work at and towards. Sometimes I would love to throw in the towel and say "Fine! You win!" to all the stuff that accumulates (it's really just papers!), but I don't and over time I have become more organized. I'm better than I was 10 years ago and definitely better since I've became a SAHM two years ago.
Being a SAHM, I have taken over the cooking and I've already mentioned that family dinner time is important to us. Two years ago, this was a daunting task and not one that I relished. My husband is a fabulous cook and I'm thrilled when he takes over. But again, over time I have learned to like it, to learn to go with the flow, and now venture into new recipes. One of the things that used to throw me for a loop was the ageless question: "What's for dinner?" It takes so much planning! Do you need to defrost anything? Do you have the right ingredients for what you want to make? Did you just have chicken last night? Do you want it again tonight?
If you've ever been to my house you may have seen the calendar on the side of the fridge that has a meal written down for each night. I keep in mind dates that I know we won't be eating at home because we are at a celebration, nights for leftovers, and at least one night for a slowcooker meal. My friends were impressed but then I shared my secret, I have a cookbook called "The One-Armed Cook" than I love. The meals are simple and can all be done while holding a baby in one arm if needed. I also use the calendar to help me with my shopping list and to know "What's for dinner?" every night of the month. It totally helped when I made the transition of having one kid to two kids. I shop at two places for food, the local grocery store and the local superstore. I get my dry goods and frozen ingredients at the superstore and my fresh produce at the grocery store (only because I'm afraid that I can't eat all of the fresh stuff before it would go bad if I buy it in bulk.) However, my planning can take up to over an hour for planning for the month, including writing grocery lists (one for the local grocery store and one for my bulk items at a superstore).
On my birthday I received an e-mail for a contest I had entered for a year's subscription to Plan to Eat. I was informed I won and I am so excited! What a great inadvertent birthday present! It's an electronic version of my pen & paper method of planning meals for the month and writing out grocery lists. I've only had it a few days and have only logged on a couple of times because of it being Easter weekend and being terribly busy. I'm still learning to use it to my full benefit. So far, really easy! I type in my recipes, drop them into the days of the calendar, and the site helps me to create shopping lists from the ingredients I'm using (read: it actually creates the lists for me! I don't have to go back to my recipes and write down my shopping list on a separate sheet of paper), gives me a place to add non-food items (diapers, wipes, etc) to my list, and then I can drop my items into a shopping list for any of the stores I use. It took way less time to create a shopping list than it usually does. How about mere minutes versus 30+ minutes to an hour!! I'm looking forward to how this will help me save money too! With me not working I am really conscientious about how much money I spend everywhere. One place that I can cut costs without making sacrifices is the grocery store. It just means shopping better. With the lists I think I can do that. I'll let you know how it goes!
p.s. I am not receiving any compensation for writing about this. I am just really excited I won this. I really got into using it last night and I'm shocked how it is already saving me time. The longest part is writing in all my recipes. But once I'm done with that I won't have to do it again! No more lost recipes I snipped out of magazines. As the Discombobulated Mommy I am happy to pass along anything that will help us find more time to spend with our kids and less time on the "chores" of the house, while still maintaining our sanity. If you join Plan to Eat, friend me and let's share recipes!