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One question I’ve gotten frequently is about meal planning. We eat out twice a week at the most unless we’re out of town or have guests. Once for Sunday lunch and then sometimes one other time for some reason or another. We eat big breakfasts and my kids are big eaters so I have to stay on top of this crew. I plan meals from breakfast to dinner and even snacks. I don’t buy a lot of pre-packaged or prepared foods so this just helps me to stay on top of what needs to be thawed, soaked, or started in the morning where I don’t run into surprises. I grocery shop once a week, bake bread once a week, and pick up milk, cheese, and eggs from a local farm every other week. That pretty much sums up my deal. Because I’m home most of the time, this is actually much easier than it sounds. Most things cook, rise, or bake while I’m getting something else done. The key is just having what I need and being prepared for that weekly trip to the store (and then making myself go, even if it’s with all four kids in tow). I have found many things that have helped me at different points with this process. One of them is a website called Relish. I use it off and on with my other planning techniques. This site allows you to choose from their recipes (including freezer recipes), create a menu, and then it prints out your grocery list, including a list of what you probably have on hand in your pantry. It’s a fairly small monthly fee, and it is easier to use than a lot of the similar sites I’ve seen or used. I also like that I don’t often have to make healthier substitutions because the recipes usually use fresh ingredients, not cans of cream of mushroom or packages of flavorings. I can easily skip the ones that don’t fit my requirements or make my usual changes. It also allows you to change the amount of servings and automatically changes the recipes and your list accordingly. My family has enjoyed the many recipes we’ve used from the site and some have become new favorites for all of us. Maybe it will help you as well! Happy planning!

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