I was thinking about this summer and my hopes for it.
I am hoping for simple & laid back with LOTS of sunshine. Sam and I will both be working (I'll update you more on that soon), the kids will be out of school, and living in Minnesota we kind of get crazy excited when the weather starts warming up and we can roam the great outdoors again.
I want to frequent the community pool often...grill out with friends, figure out how in the world one gardens (still tilling the ground to get things planted in a new plot) and watch the kids play for endless amounts of time. (Where every night should be a bath night because they had THAT much fun playing in the dirt outside!)
What I don't want is to be in a panic every few hours wondering what in the world I am going to feed this hungry crew for lunch and dinner.
So it got me thinking and I thought..."what if we had the same weekly menu all summer long?!?"
There would be an end date of course...the end of August.
It could be kind of like an experiment.
And that is when I decided to go for it!
You'll never know unless you try, right?
So without further ado.
In My Opinion, We Have Too Many Choices Anyway: I've noticed that in others countries people eat the same food all of the time. Have you noticed that? Beans & Rice...Rice & Beans, yummy curry cooked various ways. Why in America do we really need THAT many choices?!?
Simple, Simple, Simple: By making the same meals, on the same days of the week, over the course of the same three months...I don't have to brainstorm new dinner ideas, create a new menu every week or be asked, "what's for dinner?" a bunch of times. :-) Yes kids, it's Monday night...pork roast it is! I can keep veggies, sides and salad on hand to add to the main dishes but for the most part everything else stays the same!
Kids Complain Less: You know how you serve a particular meal and you just know that one of your kids in particular is going to complain about that meal...no matter how many times you have told them that having a happy (and thankful!) heart is more important than whether they like or don't like the food. Well, generally as moms, I think when we have the choice, we generally pick meals that we know won't get many complaints. It goes along with that whole...pick your battles thing. So I thought I'd be strategic with this. I got everyone in the family involved. I made the idea of having the same menu every week sound like the most EXCITING THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED! And I had the kids (and Sam) help pick out the meals so that everyone agreed (AGREED! I believe in miraclesssss!) In fact, up until this point we have had one repeat meal every Wednesday night...Rice & Beans. I've often thought that the kids would be sick of it by now but it is literally their FAVORITE thing. They squeal when they see me get the beans ready to soak the night before and I think quite honestly that they like the whole...we know what to expect. thing. One of my neighbors has the impression that my beans come straight out of heaven because of how much my kids rave about them...I tell you, they do not. I always find it quite strange how excited they get about them actually.
Less Expensive: Feeding a family of seven on a regular basis is going to add up any way you slice it. However, I know that there are days where the fridge is bare or I just don't feel like cooking (mainly because I haven't figured out what's for dinner yet and it is 5pm and everything is frozen) and in those moments we will usually visit our good friend Little Caesars or go out to eat. I do really enjoy going out to eat when it is a special treat...a celebration, a restaurant where kids eat free (AMEN!), etc. However, even if we swing into a fast food restaurant and buy food in bulk to split and waters for everyone...the bill still comes to over $30 easily and all I can think of is that I could have served steak and potatoes at home for that price if I had only planned right!
Guests!: The summer is a great time to gather with friends (ok, ANY time of the year is!) Whether it means putting more rice & beans on the night before or making two crock pots of chili instead of one...any of these recipes can be adapted or doubled to serve more people...especially when my kitchen is stocked with large amounts of the same ingredients already....which brings me to point six. :-)
Grocery Shopping Will Be A Breeze: (Click here to read my past thoughts on grocery shopping.) I'll still swing into the grocery store at least once or twice a week to grab fresh fruits and veggies (until that garden kicks in) but I can load up ahead of time on the main food that I will need. For instance, buy a pork roast in bulk at Sam's Club and bring it home to cut into smaller portions and freeze. I can switch up the snacks & treats that we keep at home but for the most part I'll know exactly what I need when I go to the store...and exactly what I don't need.
Mom Is Less Stressed: I've been noticing that when I remove the guilt, stop thinking that I "should" be doing something and just simply be me...things go a whole lot easier. And can I tell you a secret? It is a whole lot more enjoyable too! I'm looking forward to making memories, maybe even playing scrabble, roasting marshmallows around the fire and NOT worrying about what is for dinner!
I'm pretty excited for this experiment and our summer adventure to begin!
Want to join in on the fun?
Use the hashtag #samemenuallsummer
to share meals your cooking up frequently
and the fun things you are doing
this summer because of it!