Monday, October 31, 2011

Meal Planning, Part 1 - Why?

Welcome to my longest series-to-be: meal planning, meal shopping, and bulk cooking. Thank you to all my readers who have asked great questions to be included in this series. I will get to all of them!

To begin, let's talk about meal planning. Many of the 7 billion people out there don't meal plan (well, to be fair...some of those are kids). If you are one of those people, this post is for you. If you already meal plan, this post will affirm your effort!

Why plan for our meals? Here's the answer:

  • Financial - You end up spending less money on things because you have a plan. There is less food wasted because you have a plan for all of it. And you can buy in bulk, which tends to be cheaper. If you know you'll need 4 onions this month, buy a whole bag instead of them individually. And no last minute trips to a restaurant or ordering take out. 
  •  Time - You're not frantically running around 30 minutes before dinner is supposed to be ready trying to figure out what you can make. You also grocery shop less frequently when you have a plan.
  • Energy - Similar to time, if you plan your meals - you can save some energy by not running around stressing out about what to cook. You think all day - this will save you from having to think about dinner. 
  •  Your waist - We've all been there. Nothing planned and/or nothing in the house to what do we reach for? Some kind of unhealthy, processed, convenience food or take out (which is usually not fresh, highly processed, high calorie, the list could go on). 
  • Emotional stability - This one is for all the moms out there who are cooking 3 meals a day for more than one person. Sometimes that's great and other times it's stressful and hard. It's generally the later if you don't have a plan. When your kids ask "what's for breakfast (insert lunch and dinner)?", you will have an answer or they will just stop asking because they can read it themselves. 

So now that we have the why down, stay tuned for the next step tomorrow...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Got Milk?

We've all been there: out of milk. That delicious bowl of cereal has to been eaten dry (because water doesn't taste good, trust me - I've tried). The pancakes you have been craving will have to wait. And worst of all: you can't eat that brownie because who in their right mind can eat brownies sans milk? That's just plain crazy.

I know that many of you are wondering where this post is going. What does running out of milk have to do with organization or simplifying your life? I can already tell what you organization savvy people are thinking:

"If you are more organized or have a grocery list system, you wouldn't have run out of milk in the first place."

Yes, that's true. But that's not where this post is going. Here's where this is going:

Yes, dry milk. It can simplify your life. I keep a box of it in my pantry at all times. That way, if I ever run out of milk (yes, highly organized people also run out of milk) and it's too late or I'm too tired (read: lazy) to go to the store, I always have some on hand.

Dry milk tip: It's best to be used for cooking. Because it's room temperature when you mix it and that's just not so tasty.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kid's Towels

I have four children. All under the age of 6. That's four different towels in their bathroom. Their SMALL bathroom. That's four different towels that I used to find on the floor because they couldn't reach their towel hooks. Then I bought these from Ikea. It's just 2 hooks, but each hook has 2 rungs. It has changed my life. I no longer go behind the kids putting their towels up for them because they couldn't reach it. And I no longer wash them (the towels, not the kids) more often than I need to because they were found on the floor and I didn't know if they were clean or dirty.

So, my Simplify Your Life tip: Keep things at the level of your kids. Are they short people (AKA young)? Keep hooks low. Not only will it teach them to be responsible for their things, but it will leave you less to pick up.