I am not, by nature, a planner. Left to my own devices, I don't like plans. I don't want to figure things out ahead of time. No schedules, no lists, no deadlines. Not for me, thank you very much. I want to be FREE. Free to dream, to come up with brainstorms, to have flights of fancy, to go out on a limb, be spontaneous, go with the flow, live in the moment. You get the picture, right? Yeah, then I grew up and had 4 kids.
Somewhere along the way I figured out that having a plan is essential. Too many days of using my freedom to not think about dinner until 6:00pm or pretend the laundry doesn't exist until the kids are wearing tank tops in January. Sadly, the short people in this house seem to get "huuuuungry" whether I have a plan or not. They expect me to figure it out. And, there is no laundry fairy. Crazy, right? So, I've turned to the dark side. I too - have become a planner. To my relieved surprise, over the years I have found planning to bring a kind of peace to this family, I didn't know existed. Planning a week or a month of menus at a time, planning grocery shopping, having a daily schedule, a weekly list of chores, having a plan has become my best friend. Life seems to move along smoother, calmer, more peaceful if I have taken the time to think things through before they happen. And don't worry - I still love an excuse to toss the plan out the window, scoop up my brood and take off for a random adventure.
What works for me is making Sunday my planning day. In the afternoon, when it's quiet here, I take a few hours to plan out my week. I get out the calender, check for upcoming appointments, schedule babysitters if needed, figure out family activities & compare notes w/ the husband to make sure we are on the same page. Then, time to finalize the weekly menu and shopping lists. I find this to be one of the most crucial parts of planning. Without my trusty menu and list, I wander into the grocery store, spend way too money and still don't know what to make for dinner. Dinner time rolls around, kids are hungry and grumpy, mom is stressed. Taking the time to plan on Sunday has been the antidote for me. Here's a recent example of a weekly menu.
Breakfast: Fruit and Nut Baked Oatmeal
Lunch: Ham and Cheese pockets, raw veggies, fruit
Supper: Spaghetti Bolognese, green salad, summer squash with garlic and herbs
Breakfast: Whole grain pancakes
Lunch: Grilled cheese & Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup (canned last summer)
Supper: Crockpot BBQ Chicken, Lemon Broccoli, salad, rolls
Breakfast: Bran muffins and fruit
Lunch: Felicity's Mac and Cheese, carrots and celery
Supper: Ham/Cheese Quiche, green salad, smoothies
Breakast: Eggs & Bacon Wraps
Lunch: PB & J, veggies,
Supper: BBQ Chicken Pizza, sauteed green beans, salad
Breakfast: Cereal, fruit, toast
Lunch: Sandwiches, leftovers
Supper: Ginger Sesame Chicken & veggies, rice,
Brunch: German Fries
Supper: Grilled hamburgers, grilled veggie kabobs
Breakfast: Cereal, fruit
Lunch: Shepherds pie, salad
Supper: deli meat, cheese, crackers, fruit, popcorn
Happy planning! Remember to throw all plans to the 4 winds and enjoy life now and then.