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Everybody’s got to eat

December 31, 2016

I think one of the hardest things about being a mom is the fact that every couple of hours or so, all the mini-humans decide that they will shrivel up and wither away if you don’t feed them in the next 30 seconds.  The pressure!  The anxiety!  The stress!  And then… sometime around 5:30, EVERYONE in the house decides to feed.  What’s up with that???

It’s tough enough on a regular day, but we’ve got a lot going on… Hubby works full time.  I work full time.  Hubby is working on his second masters degree.  I’m working on my doctorate.  We have a kindergartener, a toddler, and a newborn. Dishes are never completely clean.  Laundry is never caught up.  We cloth diaper – the laundry is NEVER all clean!  Just when you think you’ve caught up, you realize that the diaper on that adorable little bum is now completely soiled.  Thanks, darling mini-human.

Needless to say, with everyone going in so many directions, dinner time can be the most stressful time of the day.  Since summer, we had gotten into this nasty little habit of eating out more often than we ate at home – no good… no good at all. But I’ve tried meal planning – like really tried.  But it never could catch on.  I’ve tried some REALLY good plans like these put out by 5 Dinners in 1 Hour. The premise is awesome – spend 1 hour of prep time to have 5 fully ready-to-cook meals during the week.  The problem was that I couldn’t even regularly commit the hour of prep!  Plus, between crying and boo-boo’s, it took me way longer than an hour.  Most of the meals were delicious but some just did not match my family’s eating personalities.

So I tried crockpot freezer meals.  This is a good idea, right??? Kill myself in the kitchen for one whole day to make oodles of gallon sized baggies of assorted food items that get dumped into a crockpot in the morning only to be transformed into a tasty morsel by dinnertime.  Wonderful!  But… you see… in order for me to be at work by 7:15, I have to leave the house by 6:55 which means that in the shuffle of getting kids clothed, fed, and packed, I have to dump said bag of rawness into the pot.  The ordeal usually occurred around 6:30am.  So far, so acceptable.  BUT, I get off work at 3:45, more like 4:30 and then pick up half the mini-humans from daycare only to arrive home at 5:00pm.  Hubby comes scurrying in between 5:15-5:30pm.  By that time, our meal has had exactly 11 hours to cook without any stirring or seasoning. Do you know what happens to pork chops, cubed apples, and sweet potatoes in 11 hours? Baby food.  Fancy, flavorless baby food.  It’s all mush.  My family doesn’t eat mush.

So we gave up and gave into our carnal urges for hot, salty fries.  But that turned our fairly well-mannered, socially acceptable children into golden arch obsessed minions. I love me some fries, but this was not acceptable.  I went to consult the oracle, I mean, Pinterest.  As always, it never fails.

For a several weeks now, we have been following the fabulous meal plans from MashUpMom.com.  She does a weekly meal plan featuring weekly specials from AldiAldi is my favorite!  As far as grocery stores go, it’s my BFF (Best Food-source Forever).  We are lucky enough to have a location within walking distance.  The prices are amazing and the shopping experience cannot be beat.  I usually venture over after bedtime and enjoy 45 minutes (because, unlike huge, complicated, convoluted grocery stores, Aldi is small, straightforward, and simple) of uninterrupted “me” time.  Slowly I waltz down the pantry items lovingly selecting brown sugar and pop-tarts (sometimes even brown sugar pop-tarts!).  I saunter over to the produce and choose some tomatoes (because there is just one kind – dozens of varieties overwhelm and confuse me – just give me one darn tomato!).  I joyfully pop 8 packages of 4-pack toilet paper at a mere 68c a pack into my basket (yes, it’s thin and cheap toilet paper – have you ever SEEN how much toilet paper a 2 year old boy can plow through??? It’s impressive!).

But, I digress.  Meal planning. MashUpMom does the dirty work FOR me.  She reviews the weekly ad for Aldi, plans 6 dinners (that my humans have all loved!), shares the recipes, and all for the low, low price of $60.  Amazing.

So… as my hubby says… get to the point, SuperMom!  Ok! OK! So… my plan is to put these meal plans to the ultimate test.  For the entire month of January, we will plan, shop, and cook every meal plan, exactly as written.  We will forgo our eating out habits (ok, maybe just one or two cheats but we are used to 4-7 eat outs a week!) and eat at home.  Join me for my reviews, pictures, details, and struggles as we spend every evening over a home-cooked meal, staring into each other’s eyeballs and reveling in all the wild, adolescent ruckus around us.  Starting NOW!!!

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