Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tips for Busy Families

Today is the first day of a new feature on Tulip & Turnip called Tips for Busy Families.  In no way do I claim to be an expert in this field...in fact, every day I'm still trying to find the balance between work and family.  But I've learned a thing or two from having three kids under the age of 4, so I hope to share a few of those tips with you here.

I hope this can become an interactive feature.  I'd love to hear from you!  Email me and send me your best tips for busy families, and hopefully I'll feature you on Tuesday's Tips!

Today's tip deals with my nemesis:  grocery shopping.  I'm not even kidding, I dread grocery shopping more than going to the dentist.  At least at the dentist you can lay down.  But I have three kids that EAT, A LOT, so it's a necessary evil.  I told you in this post that I like to plan my meals on Sundays.  And I tend to be someone that thinks in categories.  So every week I try to decide on one chicken, one fish, one pasta, and two whole grain/bean dishes to make that week.

But I go even further with my grocery list.  In order to get what I'm looking for at the best prices, I shop at many different places: I get my fruits and vegetables at a local produce market, Trader Joe's for the majority of my list, and the grocery store for whatever's left.  (We also hit Costco once a month for bulk items.)  When I'm planning my menu for the week, I keep a piece of paper next to me that's divided into thirds:  I list produce market items under one column, Trader Joe's stuff under the second column, and grocery store items under the third column.

So you can imagine my sheer delight when I saw this on a blog a few weeks ago.  It exactly mirrors what I had already been doing, only in a much more organized format:
Brooke from inchmark created this grocery list.  Here's what she has to say about it.

I use a simpler list, organized by store. My main shopping happens at the grocery store, but I do midweek runs to places like Costco or Trader Joes. We also have a great little market called Henry’s where we buy most of our produce. When I sit down to plan our week on Mondays I write down what we’re having for dinner each day at the bottom of the list. 
I grab my favorite cookbooks and my recipe file and mark or pull out the recipes I’m using that week. (If I’m pulling a meal from a cookbook, I’ll note the book and page number next to the meal to help me remember. If it says AB pg. 24, I know that means it’s from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, page 24.) I keep recipes in lots of different formats, 3×5 cards, tears from magazines, recipes I’ve printed from websites, and I just store them loosely by category in a big file (main dishes, desserts, etc.) so I can flip through them quickly. The grocery list and all the recipes I’ll be cooking get clipped together and hang on the fridge so everyone can see what we’re having for dinner that week. It also helps to have a list right in front of me so that when I realize I’m out of eggs, I can just grab a pen and add it to the list for next week.

How great is that?  I recently started employing her system, and it's been really helpful.  It doesn't make me detest grocery shopping any less, but it's a start.  Would you like to download and print your own editable version of Brooke's shopping list?  I thought so.  You can get your  hands on it here.

Thanks for reading!  And make sure to send me some of your tips for busy families! :)

1 comment:

  1. Great idea for a new thread! We are a family of 5 with all three kids 6 and under so I can understand where you are coming from on the eating thing. I too make a like for menu planning each week, boy does that help with the food shopping. I am more focused and we spend less! Coupons are my friend, although I don't like to grocery shop, I do like to challenge myself to see how much I save each week, as that is my contribution to our household. I think you are so right....Menu/Meal planning weekly is the key. I also go to a few different stores, luckily for me, they are across the street from each other, so gas does not play a big factor in my running around!

    Looking forward to this each Tuesday - Enjoy your day!


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