During the summer holidays I’ve really been feeling the pressure of entertaining a four-year-old, five days a week (Sofia was previously at nursery two days a week) along with twin toddlers. We’ve been going on play dates, outings and doing activities continuously. Maria and Gabriella are nearly two and are at the age where they want to go out every day otherwise they get cranky. The garden only seems to entertain for so long.
Also looming large is Sofia starting school. There’s been form-filling aplenty, a couple of meet ups with her future class mates (really nice idea by the way – our contact details were circulated so that we could arrange something and the school kept its playground open over the holidays so we were able to meet there), a number of shopping trips for school uniform and labelling of said uniform.
Last month I wrote for TalkMum, WrigglyRascals and also contributed a #meetasahp post for Stay at Home Mummy. Then there’s this blog and I also started doing a freelance PR project. Then there was filming at our house when the BBC interviewed me about fitness to fly certificates in pregnancy. You can see it here (I didn’t know how much I frowned when talking!).
So with all that, along with the usual washing, cleaning, tidying etc, it’s been a busy time and my head has been spinning somewhat. I’d been waking up in the middle of the night and trying to think what meals I was going to make that day; probably as this was the only time I could devote any real thought to it. Having decided in the early hours I then had to go and shop for all the ingredients in the morning as, of course, I was missing most of them. I was actually doing about four sizeable shops a week. I needed to work smarter…
Enter the meal planner!
I can’t believe I have devised a meal planner, it sounds a bit sad and rather regimented, but I was getting totally fed up with being poorly prepared and spending way too much time at the supermarket checkout.
I took an hour out and devised a planner for August. I tried to keep it fairly healthy and varied, but there were some meals, which were more of a ‘treat’ included, some favourites that cropped up a couple of times within the month, and leftovers also featured. I kept the weekends free in the name of spontaneity! It worked really well so I created one for this month.
September’s meal planner:
It might be overstating it slightly to say it’s revolutionised my life, but it has made a massive difference. Of course there’s the odd tweak now and then to fit in with last minute plans, but the main thing is I’m not waking at obscure hours thinking about the day’s food and I’m not fussing about trying to cobble something together out of the ingredients I do have, and most importantly I have drastically reduced my supermarket visits. I have also cut down a lot on waste as I go to the shops and buy what I actually need.
I have changed, but being organised has actually made me chill out more. I’d highly recommend it!
By the way, please feel free to share any family meal favourites as I’m always looking for inspiration…