Menu Planning…. Simply done!

OK.  I used to be on the band wagon for menu planning, then life got too hectic!  Children’s lives became so crazy…. I became a substitute teacher for our local seminary and have the potential to be gone on any given day of the week when needed.  Can you say Dominoes on Speed Dial!  Yah, not a good thing for tight budgets!!  Speaking of budgets, ours had became so tight that this past year, we have only shopped for mere basics!  A family of 9 on $100 a week–which includes 9 gallons of milk each week!!

Yah, It has been rough!  I knew there had to be a better way to make it all work!

 

Then, one day, I decided that I had had enough!  I needed something that was going to help us keep the chaos out of dinner time, and help us with the grocery budget.  I was tired of buying something only to come home to find out I already had that, or that I forgot what I needed.  I was tired of buying the basics, only to come home and still really having nothing to prepare for meals!  Getting called in to substitute early of the morning and getting home late with no ideas of what to do for dinner!   I would look at meal planning on the internet and what everyone did, and it just sent me for a loop!  For some reason it wasn’t clicking for me!  I wanted to be able to use my own recipes, since I have quite a collection of them, and I know what works for my family.  So, having said that,  I will NOT be posting all my recipes!  I might have a few on this site you’re welcome to brouse, but use what you have and what your family loves!  Print off those Pinterest recipes and start filing them with your recipes where you can see them!

 

After much praying for divine assistance, I finally had a thought come to me on how to do this!  I can not take credit for this idea.  I know that it was a direct answer to my prayer from a loving Heavenly Father who cared enough to help me with my situation!

 

The idea was so simple!  (That’s why I know it was NOT my own idea)  In the past I have had a different category for each day of the week — the idea came from “The Food Nanny.”  In the past it did work well…. but for some reason I had just fallen off the menu planning bandwagon!

  • Monday — Comfort foods
  • Tuesdays — Italian
  • Wednesdays — Soups/Sandwiches  (This is Young Men/Young Women’s night for our church and since I serve in the Young Women’s and am gone for the evening, I need something quick and easy!)
  • Thursdays–Spanish/Chinese
  • Fridays–Kids Favorite/Southern/Pizza
  • Saturdays — Leftover
  • Sundays — Traditional

Now this is where the divine help came!  On Sundays, we have our Family Counsel meeting.  We go over our schedules.  We then know which nights are more crazy then the others.  I can then go over the menus that I have and just pull the ones out that we want to use for the week.  I pull out breakfasts, dinners, AND desserts, if desired, for each day of the week!  I slip the recipes into my accordion file folder.  I have a slot labeled for each day of the week.  Take all the ones I want to use for Monday, and put them in the folder, etc!  When I am done using the recipes for the day, then I slip them back into my master recipe folders that I have!  I have lots of folders and the recipes I have just get put into those folders (These are just a few):

  • drinks
  • desserts
  • spanish
  • pies, etc.  You get the picture!

 

Tuesdays are my days for bills and shopping, since paydays are on Monday.  I can pull out  my recipes for the week, shop in my own pantry or freezer and see what I have.  List what I still need and then use that for my shopping list!  I have a pretty good estimate of what things cost, so then I can add up to see what will fit into my budget!

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This is my weekly menu folder. I just place the recipes we want to use for the week in its own day. Take them out when I am done and return them to the “Master file!”

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This is my “Master” file box. Whenever I have a recipe I like, I write or print it out and put it in a file!

It couldn’t be more simple!  I also try to utilize my kids and have them help!  They can know what we’re having for dinner and even assign a different child as dinner helper!  If they don’t like the dessert idea, they can substitute it as long as we have the ingredients on hand!

Hopefully this might give some help to those who might still be struggling with menu planning!

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Our Laundry Method–for NINE people!

I all too often, as I’m sure many of you do, find myself wishing that I had an AMAZING laundry room like this one on the left!  One filled with TONS of room, counters, folding tables, built-in ironing boards, and wash basins.  Some even have those fancy little desk areas in them!  I wonder if they really use those rooms for laundry or if they are just for show and tell…. really!

However, I don’t!  I live here on Earth.  We have what’s called Real-Life, and it sure as tootin’ isn’t that type of a laundry room.  It’s a real work room.  If I had a dime for every load of laundry washed, my husband could retire as a rich man.  So, I find myself wondering often about different ways to do laundry.  I’ve tried many, trust me!  However, there is a method that I have been doing for a few years now, and it is simply the easiest for our family of nine!  It has become even more easy since the purchase of a few more little wire shelf units and a drill.  I’ve always been told, that if you don’t have the floor space, go up.  It is so true!  It’s amazing how good things work when you can get them up and off the floor!  I was so tired of not having room to do my laundry  IN MY LAUNDRY ROOM!  I would always wash and wash and wash, then bring all my loads into the family room to fold.  Man, was that a nightmare!  It would sometimes sit in there for days, OR worse, my kids would get a wild hare and start throwing clean laundry at someone or burying themselves UNDER the laundry in an effort to hide themselves, and before I knew it, it was either a Mount Everest, or a Tsunami wreck in my family room.

So without further delay, I am going to show you my laundry room in all it’s working glory…. please don’t mind the paint… someday I want to change it!  Also, don’t look at the nail holes that have been filled but not repainted over yet — I’m terrible at finding studs…. Lots of “Oops!” moments!

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This is a taller shelf…. I put the empty baskets up there when they are not in use. The spray wash, laundry soap, and dryer sheets are kept on the lower shelf for easy access.

The laundry soap is kept on the shelf for easy access.  I just refill it as needed.  I also keep the dryer sheets and the spray wash right on the same shelf.  I’m trying to help the kids to know that if a stain does get on their clothes, that when they take it to the laundry room, all they  need to do is just grab the stain spray and spray it right then and there, before putting it into the laundry piles.  It is a work in progress, and I believe it will take many years before I see any fruits of my labors.  Laundry can be a full-time job if you allow it to be.  One thing that helps is to make sure you don’t have more clothes than what your kids can wear.  We’ve been blessed with a lot of hand-me-downs.  Every so often I go through things and get rid of the unrepairables and take out the duplicates or the unused clothes and send them to the donation pile.

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This is our spare sock basket… When I have spare socks, I just put them in this basket. Every so often I go through it and have a sock matching party. It has helped out a lot! I’m so amazed at how easily socks get lost!  The green paper is a basic washing instruction list for the kids… in case they have questions!

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With three shelves, I have room for 9 different piles if necessary. Three to a shelf. I can also use hangers to hang clothes on these shelves if I need to hang something up!

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Just another view… again, don’t look at the nail holes… ahem! You can see some of the hooks on the other wall. I have two sets of those and they are used for clothes that need to be ironed or air dried!

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There’s another shot at it. No fancy iron closet but this works for us. It’s easy access and works great.

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More shots of the upper shelf unit holding baskets.

Over the years, I have acquired these baskets either at Walmart or the DI, rather cheaply.  I have one for each ROOM in the house–it lives in that room’s closet so as to not be seen–plus I have three extras.  Ed and I are the only ones that have our own baskets.  I have two sets of boys that are nearly the same size and share rooms, since they share clothes, they share a basket.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, each basket is to be brought to the laundry room for washing.  In case you’re wondering, there is a chore chart that assigns a child as a laundry helper — so each child gets the chance to take a turn helping with washing and sorting end of things as well!  Hopefully they’ll learn to do it right!!!

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Here, all the baskets have been brought down and the clothes piles have been put in their baskets. I should say that each basket has a name on it written in marker. If I find shoes out, or belts or any other of their miscellaneous belongings that belong to the kids, they get put in their basket as well. At the end of the day, it all goes to their rooms.

When the clothes are washed, they are folded, IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM, and placed on these wire shelves I’ve installed–I know they are not custom built-ins, but this has helped me out so much!!  I never knew how nice it was to have a place right there to put folded clothes on. The hooks on the walls are for shirts which need to be ironed or anything that might need to air dry.  When they get done in the dryer, all ironables go on the hook to be ironed on my iron day… usually on a Tuesday or Thursday, when I don’t have quite as much washing to do.  When the baskets are not in use, they sit above my washing machine.  When the clothes are all folded for the day, each child’s pile is put in their basket and sent to their room at the end of the day with any other of their other belongings that might be hanging around.  Each child is responsible for putting up their clothes and making sure their basket goes back into their closet.  We usually do sheets on Thursday, and play “catch-up” on Saturdays.  In essence, my laundry machines usually go every day of the week, when I’m on top of things.

So this is how things work for me!  Tell me how things work for you and if you feel like giving this method a try, let me know how it goes!  Hang in there!!!