Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Epic Grocery Shopping Trip

Now that we are going to be homeschooling, I have been trying to figure out just what life will look like, how I will make it all work, this fall.  I've been reading lots of blogs of other homeschooling moms, interested in how they juggle running their homes and homeschooling at the same time.  One area I know I need to re-do is grocery shopping.  I've been heading to the grocery store about once a week.  But, next year, I don't think I can dedicate an entire morning each week to a grocery trip, unless I squish all the homeschooling.  I've been looking around for some suggestions as to how other moms do it.

One of my favorite new blog finds is raising arrows.  Amy is a great, inspiring writer and I have been enjoying reading through posts while nursing.  I decided to give her system a go.  Basically, she figures out how many meals they will eat for an entire month ( number of days minus how many times you normally eat out, add how many times you normally invite others over etc. ) and then grocery shopping for every item you will need.  She keeps a huge master list and writes down how many of each item she'll need in stock to make it through a month.  I could go into all the detail she does, but instead, if you are interested, head on over to her blog to check it out :)

So, with this system in mind, I sat down to think up 30 meals for a month.  A couple will get used as lunches, when we don't have left overs, and the rest will make up suppers for a month.  I planned on cereal, pancakes,fruit and yogurt or toast for breakfast, so I made sure that we had the fixings for those items.  Coming up with 30 meals all at once is harder than it sounds! Go ahead try it!  Shawn laughed when I told him it was hard.  He started tossing out ideas, but I had them all already, and we were only at 15!!  Once we had all the meals picked out, I started making a grocery list.  I made sure we'd have fruit and veggies for about half the month, and, like Amy's system, will plan on a quick trip mid month to pick up whatever fruit veggies and milk I need to finish out the month.

With my enormous list in hand, our entire family headed to the grocery store.  I knew I would never be able to accomplish this trip with all four kids unless Shawn came with us!  I put Bremen in a wrap style carrier ( more on that in a future post) so I would have free hands.  I directed the kids which items to grab off the shelves, and Shawn pushed the cart.  By the time we were ready to check out, our cart was piled taller than Shawn!! I could not even move the cart!  It was crazy but we got it all in there somehow.  Passersby actually stopped to ask Shawn if he was " one of those crazy coupon people" hahah!  The tally felt huge even though it's less than I would have spent if I had spread the shopping out during the month.

It took over an hour to put it all away when we got home, even after Shawn carried it all up the stairs for me.  We had to stash some of the food out in the commercial cooler in his shop, because we couldn't fit it all in our fridge, even though it's huge.

I have the list of meals stuck on my fridge and each day, I can pick something off of it and know that I have what I need on hand to make it.  I like having the flexibility to chose from a selection, instead of a set meal each day as I was doing before.  It allows for me to change based on how we are feeling, what we plan on doing that day and even the weather.  If it's hot, I just pick something we can cook on the BBQ.

I'm not sure yet if I will be able to keep using this system or not.  I don't know if I can accomplish the epic shop if Shawn isn't able to come with us.  The problem I face is purely space related.  If I take my stroller so the two littles can sit in it, I can't fit the groceries in my van.  If I carry Bremen, and don't have help, I don't know if I can manage Lily without putting her in the cart.  If I put her in the cart, I don't know if I can fit all the food in.  If I carry Bremen, I don't know if I can get groceries in and out of the cart easily.  I might always have to make sure Shawn can come with me, so I can carry the baby, he can manage Lily and push the cart, and the back of the van is free for groceries.  Sheesh! I may need a bigger vehicle!

I like that it helps me stick to our budget, and I like not having to go to the store each week.  For now I'm going to keep using this new system, and I'll keep you posted.

I'd love to hear how you manage your groceries??

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