When it comes to homeschooling, the focus tends to be on the the actual “schooling” part. You know, the lesson plans, curriculum choices, read aloud selections, hands-on activities, and the like. But, for us mamas, managing the “home” in homeschooling can be where the stress lies, especially when it comes to feeding our tribe. And, is it just me, or do these kids want to eat all day long?! Geez.
I was that mama for a longgggg time — the one who didn’t know what we were having for any meal, especially dinner. I’d go grocery shopping and have all types of ingredients, but would struggle with putting meals together because I was always last minute, not really sure what to make, or what would go well together. All of the decisions, stress, and disorganization was impeding on my homeschool time with the children because instead of focusing on them, I was trying to think of what we could eat for lunch and dinner, and even made grocery runs to fill in items for that day, several times per week. Sometimes, the overwhelm would win and we would end up grabbing fast food because it felt easier. I was a mess, y’all! Le sigh.
About a month ago, I was watching one of my large family homeschool mama’s that I love and she was making freezer meals for an entire month. I’ve watched many videos like that and always been inspired afterward, but the reality is that I just don’t have the time or space for all of the cooking. As I was watching though, an idea popped in my mind: What if I just plan out the meals for the month, continue to shop weekly, but not make any food ahead of time? Would that still get me to my goal of preparing more wholesome meals and eating most of our meals at home? Hmmmmm… By George, I was onto something.
I decided to create a monthly meal plan for three-month’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, plus daily snacks. I chose meals for the first, third, and fifth weeks of the month, then chose different meals for the second and fourth weeks. The meals I chose were mostly what we already ate, plus some new recipes from Pinterest. We also have staples each week, such as Taco Tuesday and Friday pizza night, so I really only had to find five meals for each week. To make it easier to shop for the week, I created grocery lists for each set of weeks, too.
With my plans done, I said a small prayer of gratitude to the ancestors for the wisdom they bestowed upon me and asked for the fortitude to go down this path one mo’ ‘gen. Y’all I’ve watched so many others be successful with meal planning, monthly shopping, and freezer meals/prep, and I wondered when my time would come. When would my cup overfloweth with planned meals and a stocked, ready-to-roll kitchen? When would I be blessed with the meal planning bounty that brings more time and money, and less stress? When would my homeschool days go more smoothly because I already defrosted the chicken and had it in the Instant Pot for dinner, and it was only 3:30 p.m.? Huh? Umm? Hmmm?!
Y’all, it worked. IT WORKED! Oooooh SNAP!
We have been eating mostly at home, and I have not had to think about what I should make for almost a month now. Not only that, but I have finally been blessed with saved time and money, lessened my stress level and have no decision fatigue. We are even eating more vegetables, and I’m even making my own pizza dough on a regular basis. I almost don’t recognize myself! To go from being a disorganized, slightly crotchety mama who couldn’t get her meal planning life together to having 2 (almost 3) month’s worth of meals and shopping lists readily at my disposal… I honestly feel like a different person. LOL!
I shared my lists in Instagram Story over the weekend, and a few mamas were interested in the templates, so I have them available for free download below. I’ll be working on editable versions, as well as sharing the list of meals and any related links to the recipes I’ll be using with the Facebook group that I’m starting. You can learn more the group here.
With love and light,