Friday, March 22, 2013

Outsourcing My Brain (Part 1): The Beauty of Meal Planning!

As I move further into parenting and home education, I find that planning ahead is becoming more and more essential - it's gone from "fun" to "necessary" to "I'd better plan ahead or we're all gonna die!" (or something like that). I begin to understand why mamas of large families are so very organized - it's a survival tactic!

One area that is a huge blessing to me is meal planning. If I plan our meals - things go well. If I don't plan our meals - then I find myself at dinnertime, trying desperately to  figure something out for us to eat, while surrounded by three cranky children (and a yowling cat). Again, it's about survival.

In the past, I've tried sporadically to plan our meals, but now I do it religiously - every week. Though I know of several families who have meal rotations (so that they only have to do the planning once, and then rotate through pre-planned week schedules), I have never been able to figure out how to make that work - our meals have to work around our ever-changing school and home schedule. So for now, it's an every week task.

I started out planning our dinners, then moved to adding morning and evening prep tasks. Recently, I've added breakfasts to the plan as well. With all of that planned, I really can forget about the whole thing! I just check it a couple of times a day to keep up with the various tasks, and I'm set. With all that is going around here - care of three young children, school lessons, housework, etc. - it has been an incredible blessing.

Here's what my planning sheet looks like right now:

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After it's been filled out, it looks something like this:

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As my life gets busier and busier, with more and more tasks added to my daily schedule, having various lists to streamline and organize my days and weeks is an essential part of the plan. I'll try to share some more of them as we go along!

What lists do you find essential for keeping your sanity during the busy days of parenting, housework, and home education?

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend, everyone!

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