Friday, March 1, 2013

Monthly Meal Plan March 2013

Allow me to preface this post by saying that in my life BC (before children), I was a public school teacher for four and a half years.  Year four was when I finally felt like I was "getting it" and was comfortable in what I was doing as a teacher.  And now, I'm at four years and three months of being a mom, and I feel like I'm finally starting to figure it out.  Having three babies in as many years definitely threw me into survival mode, and it's been a long exhausting journey getting here, but I finally feel like I'm somewhat in control of my role as a wife, mom, and domestic goddess.  :)

That being said, I've been trying to find ways to maximize my time w/ my children and alleviate those high-stress periods throughout the day, primarily the chaos that ensues at meal times and during meal prep.  Also, my husband and I have been talking about some big dreams which includes really sticking to a budget, and I know one of the quickest ways to reduce spending is to plan and prepare meals at home so that I'm not tempted to pick up carry out or order a pizza.  Thanks to the inspiration of several blogs I follow, I decided to start doing a monthly meal plan that includes preparing freezer foods and meals.  I particularly like what Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler uses, so I adopted her model.

I spent four hours last night planning and preparing (there's a big learning curve initially if you're like me and tend to plan one or two days out but often find that you're flying by the seat of your pants).  I began by creating a master list of meals and foods that I commonly prepare and/or want to add to my repertoire (I hope to post several of those recipes eventually).  From there I looked at which ones had common ingredients and could be prepared in bulk as freezer meals.   Knowing your family's weekly activities is key, so I planned a big pasta lunch for Sundays after church and simple meals for Tuesday evenings since I attend a women's group then.  And of course, planning meals that will have enough leftovers for lunch is a huge time saver. 

You'll note that I have breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner posted each weekday.  Weekends often include travel and social events, so I left those open for leftovers or using a freezer meal.  I plan to do my grocery shopping on Friday mornings and freezer meals prep on the weekends.  (Friday is also our trash day, so it's a great day to make sure leftovers are used up and the fridge is cleaned out.  Like I said, there's so much to consider when starting this journey!)  And just because it's on the menu doesn't mean I can't be flexible.  I'm sure as the month goes on, we'll have things come up that will force me to modify as we go.

So I went grocery shopping early this morning sans kids (thanks to my awesome hubby), came home and cut up and froze three pounds of strawberries, threw a whole chicken in the crockpot (I'll debone it and cut the meat up to freeze for casserole use), and have another crockpot of soup cooking (also a freezer meal).  And now it's 10:15 and I'm sitting down with my coffee in hand and kiddos on either side as we enjoy Sesame Street.

So now that you know a little bit about my planning process, here's my menu!  Enjoy and modify for your own use!

 

Click here to download your Monthly Meal Plan, March 2013 (Word document, editable)



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