Calling all wives!

I am seeking the advice of wives who have either been doing this whole marriage thing for a while, or those who have their acts way more together than mine.

You see, I’m trying to come up with organizational systems or semi-procedures within our household so that when school starts back up and I no longer have free time or a spare second, we have some things in place that help life run just a little smoother. I am not looking for fail-proof methods or rigid structures. We just need a rhythm to get into… for sanity.

The current quandary is meal planning and grocery shopping. We’ve tried a few methods so far:

  • During the school year, I didn’t get home until 6:30 at the earliest (usually 7-7:30), so Brian took up the role of servant-leader and cooked most meals. He doesn’t like long trips to the grocery store (what man does?), so he stopped often on his way home to pick things up. Occasionally, we would grocery shop on a Sunday, but we were still new at this and didn’t always make it there. Brian had to carry most of the weight in this scenario (and was such an incredible blessing!!!). I don’t want it all to be on his shoulders in the fall.
  • This summer, I’ve loosely planned meals for a few days at a time and shopped whenever– because I can right now. It really doesn’t bug me to go to the grocery store more often because I can pick the time to go and I choose to go when it’s least crowded. It’s worked okay. Not possible during the school year.
  • Today, I made a plan, put it on the fridge (picture above), made a detailed grocery list, went on a LONG grocery trip, and we’re set for the week. This is something new I’m trying. It took planning, but I think it may pay off.
  • We’ve also tried the “eat out a lot” plan– it’s expensive.
  • And we’ve also had to wing-it a lot this summer– I’m a teacher in summer-mode, can you blame me?

But it’s time to figure this out and I’ve got a few more weeks to get something set. That’s where you come in… You ladies are the pros– please share your experience and  wisdom with me (the rookie)!

Tell me: What do you do to plan meals? How do you keep from getting in a recipe rut? When/how often do you grocery shop? And remember– it’s just the two of us (for now)– so do any of you have recipes for two or tips for leftovers?

I can’t wait to read the comments and hopefully we can benefit from your wisdom!

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6 thoughts on “Calling all wives!

  1. Matt and I make a menu each week and do grocery shopping on Sunday evenings together–kind of like bonding time. We plan to cook most nights but have at least one night a week where we eat out. I teach too so I know how you feel in the evenings. Matt does most of the cooking during the school year and I try to take over during the summer. So as to not get in a recipe rut, we try to find one new recipe a week to try. Sometimes they are a disaster, but those make funny memories. We often scale down recipes to make only enough for two people because we really don’t like leftovers. Hope this helps! :)

  2. Steve is the gourmet chef in our household, so while I wasn’t working I had to figure out how to contribute a bit more. We do tons of grilling – it’s very quick (10 minutes to grill, 15 to sit) and it’s pretty healthy too. What I do is go to the grocery early in the week (if I can’t make it on the weekends) and buy 2-3 kinds of meat. Usually some chicken or pork (pre-seasoned pork tenderloins are awesome), or fish on sale. That should take care of most of the week – you grill the meat one night with some steamed veggies or instant mashed potatoes when we’re really lazy, and then next night grill the other meat. The next two nights we usually repurpose the leftovers – chicken can go on top of pasta, or make a stir fry, and sometimes we make omelets with veggies and pork or whatever. It works very well, but a lot of times if you buy the right amount of meat, you won’t even have leftovers. I always keep a lot in my freezer too, so you can just set it out in the morning if you don’t have anything for dinner. AND never underestimate the power of a good lasagna or meatloaf (both easy to put together). Our moms swear by the cheap cheap meals of red beans and rice or ham & bean soups. Can be frozen and defrosted in small portions. Haha, hope that helps, we spent the last 6 years figuring all this out too! :)

  3. I am definitely not a pro and still learning, but I try to menu planning two weeks at a time. Grocery shopping on Saturday mornings or Sunday evenings. We have taco Tuesdays because it’s easy and one less recipe to think of. Even though we do two weeks worth of meals, we really just pick about 7 recipes and get food for that. That way we can be flexible if we really just don’t feel like cooking or get an offer to go out with friends, and thus let a lot of food go bad. Pinterest has been a great source of new ideas. My last and best piece of advice: your crockpot should be your best friend. And don’t use it without the liners for easy cleanup!!

  4. Hi pretty girl! First and foremost, I’m so thrilled for you and Mr. Lundin!!

    Something I learned after being married for awhile and having quite the commute and kiddos to drop off/ pick up is very similar to what you described in your blog. I try and plan out the week’s meals, usually leaving one day open just to keep things interesting and/ or have leftovers, and aim to do the majority of my shopping on Sunday afternoons to get everything we will need. Of course little things pop up throughout the week (most commonly diapers, formula, Chocolate syrup, milk, and cheese in our household!), but luckily Bella’s preschool shares a parking lot with Kroger!

    Secondly, get a Crock Pot with a timer if you don’t already have one!! There are TONS of recipes you can set to cook during the day and dinner will be ready, warm, and anxiously awaiting your appetite which is sure to kick into overdrive as soon as you open the front door and smell what’s been preparing all day for you! There are even desserts you can make that are super easy, very inexpensive, and so incredibly yummy!!

    If your husband gets home before you do, have him prepare the “easy” items: ie. salad, potatoes, corn, veggies… any side items you may be planning on having with your meal.

    Last, have fun together in the kitchen! Turn on some music, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy the moments you have together as a couple!! Heck, have an impromptu make-out session while your water is waiting to boil!! Don’t be too busy or stressed at the end of the day to enjoy your marriage and truly appreciate your husband! Once kiddos come along you will yearn for those moments, and be able to reflect back on them with wonderful memories!

  5. I am still struggling with the same thing but I am loving Pepperplate.com. I have the app on my phone and my Nook, and I can import recipes from lots of websites including Martha Stewart, Food Network, etc., put them into the meal planner and populate my grocery list with ingredients.

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