The first of the month is always my really big grocery shopping trip. Mainly because it's the pay period where I have the most money, but also because - I confess - I HATE grocery shopping. It's been a lot easier on me lately, though, because all of the children have decided they don't really like this chore either, so they have been opting to stay home, and I get to go alone. When you are a stay at home, homeschooling mommy of ten children, even going to the store alone can seem like a mini vacation. And more important, without little (and sometimes) big voices begging me "buy this!! buy that!!", it is a much calmer experience to go alone. I can actually think about what I'm doing.
I have been making an effort lately to use coupons again, to search out the deals, to buy as much on sale as possible, and to buy in bulk. With that in mind, I first checked out The grocery game
If you look at the bottom of this blog, you will see a widget for it. And if you decide to try this site out, please give me as a reference. If I get three people, I get a month free!! This site lets you pick a store in your area, and it tells you what the best deal is each week. It's a way of stocking up on sale items. Try it out, there is a trail period for $1. It's easy to understand!
So off I went with my coupons, to Aldi's, HEB, and CVS. I shopped for three hours, I think. Then I lugged it all back home. One advantage to having a large family is that they can carry bags in from the car for you, and help put up the groceries!!
That done, I set to work. I have been scouring websites for "freezer crock pot meals". I love this idea: you put the meal, seasonings, chopped vegetables, and whatever else all together in a zip lock baggie. Then all you have to do is dump it all in the crock pot when you are ready to cook it. Someone suggested to me that it really isn't that hard to just put it together when the time comes in the first place, and that's very true. My problem is that most of the veggies get shoved to the back of the fridge in favor of the things the kids like to eat, and by the time I'm ready to make my crock pot meal, maybe two or three weeks into the month, they are too rotten for anything but the chickens. So this way, I chop them the day I buy them, put them in a freezer bag with the meat, and it's still good when I am ready for that particular meal!
Here's a peek in a bag of chicken breasts:
Then I went to work on breakfast. I made banana pops (found the recipe on Pinterest): just cut a banana in half, stick in a Popsicle stick, then roll it in yogurt (I used organic vanilla), granola, and chocolate chips:
These are GOOD!! I'm eating more of them than the kids! I let them have these at snack time, too.
Next, I made breakfast ice cream - another Pinterest recipe. I put pineapple, several strawberries and about four banana's in the blender. Once it was blended well, I put it in individual containers in the fridge. Luke "gikes" it! (Ok, he's too big to say "gike" anymore, but it's still one of my favorite of his mispronunciations when he was a little guy!):
Next, I put together salad. If you haven't seen THIS blog, go check it out!! It's great! It taught me to chop up my salad, and then vacuum seal it. This lady uses a jar, but I opted for vacuum bags instead. Beau wants salad every day in his lunch box, so now it's all cut up and ready for him. Mary Susannah loves this too. Since broccoli/cauliflower salad is a favorite of mine, I tried chopping and sealing it this time, too:
Once all the food was done, since I was in the mood, I decided to make
some bath salts. My children play outside all day and get eaten up with
insect bites, so I made some "itchy" salts. I used epsom
salts, layered it with dry milk and baking soda, and sprinkled tea tree
oil, lavender and a blend of herb that is good for bites, among other
things, on each of the layers. I mixed it all up and put a tight top on
I also made a calming blend, with the same epsom salts, dry milk, and baking soda, and I added lavender alone to this one. It's my favorite. Mary Susannah says I would make the whole world smell like lavender if I had my wish. Hey - anything calming is my friend!
For two weeks, we have Luke's biological half sisters (the ones we wanted to adopt, but were turned down for being too religious for) staying with us. Some grand kids are here right now, too. It's been great having a freezer full of food just ready to pull out and fix for them. Two days ago, two big sons and a big grandson also showed up at mealtime, and I just threw some cooked and frozen meatballs in a pan, poured barbecue sauce over them and stuck them in the oven, along with some already cooked and frozen barbecue chicken, and tater tots casserole left over from the might before. We also had some left over macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes to heat up. It was a stress free, quick way to feed 13 people - a big part of them teenagers - on the spur of the moment!
Try it, it's great!!