Monday, January 27, 2014

Family Binder Section Two: Food

Happy Monday! It is supposed to rain here toward the end of the week, and I am looking forward to that. But I am not complaining about the nice weather we have been having, since it allowed me to do this over the weekend:

I enjoy gardening, and I absolutely love seeing my kids get involved in growing their food. I also love seeing them dirty and being happy helpers!

Recent Google searches:

"party planning printable" - STAY TUNED! I am done googling this! I am creating my own party planning printable. An ultimate guide. Check in with my on Facebook and Instagram to let me know what you want to see in this ultimate planning tool!

"Office Depot See Jane Work" - where I picked up these ADORABLE binder clips!

"best shows to watch on Netflix" (research for a friend)
"Market Tavern" (making reservations for my boss at a local restaurant)
"repurpose my wallet" I still don't have an answer for this, in case you have any suggestions...
"how to make a scented candle not smell" (Research for someone on Instagram who didn't like the smell of her candle!)

What did you research today?

Last week, we talked here about setting up the Family Binder, and what I place in Section One (those items are available in my Etsy shop).

Today we will talk about Section Two. Section Two is "Food".

At the end of the Master Calendar this week, we clean out our pantry, freezer, fridge, and create an inventory. I hang this on the inside of the pantry cupboard for easy reference. This allows me to quickly scan and see what I need to pick up at the store. It also allows me to easily see what ingredients I have on hand when I do my weekly menu planning.

In order to create accurate inventories, pull everything out of your pantry. Discard expired items, and set aside to donate to a local food bank anything you realistically won't use. Sure, that coupon for $1 off canned brussel sprouts seemed like a good idea at the time! But chances are, you won't be eating them anytime soon. Because...ew. Once you have a pile of what you will keep, clean your cupboards. Wipe down the doors, replace shelf liners if you choose. There are some really cool ideas on Pinterest for lining your entire inside of the pantry with geometric contact paper. Get creative, and have fun!

As you place the items back in the pantry in an organized fashion, make note of what you have and how many on your Inventory.

Repeat for the freezer and fridge. This can take all week and a few weekends, so don't feel pressured to do it all in one day!

Check the General Checklist and see if there is anything missing that you want to add to your pantry. This will be the start of your grocery list. When you get home from your shopping trip, don't forget to add the new items to your inventories!

Next, sit down and think about the meals you have on a regular basis. Our kids and husbands all have their favorite meals that seem to resurface each week. Write them down on the Favorite Meals Lists.

Each week, either on Sunday during nap time, or Wednesday night (since that is when we receive our weekly grocery ads) after the kids are in bed, my husband and I look at our week. We decide what our activities are going to be, and what meals we will make each night. We don't plan on a time-intensive prepping meal if we are having a busy night. We plan quick meals on the nights we have a lot going on, and food that takes more time to prepare gets bumped to nights that don't have any activities.

My favorite Weekly Menu Plan is the one that lists "Week 1", "Week 2", etc., because I can see what meals we have had each week that month. I try to only repeat one or two meals in a month so that we have a good variety. Of course some months, we eat the SAME THING EVERY WEEK, because the kids won't put anything in their mouth but macaroni and cheese and corn. Weirdos.

There are two other Weekly Menu Planners, feel free to use the one that suits your lifestyle best!

Once you have your menu planned, and your inventories completed, you can write your final grocery list! As I have mentioned in a previous post, I will write the names of the stores where I shop - it is the same four stores each week. I write my grocery list with each item listed under the store I will purchase it.

Finally, the best way to decide where I will purchase each item, is to reference my Price Comparison worksheet. When I first set this up, I did my normal weekly shopping - AT ONE STORE. I did this each week, for four weeks, at each store where I normally shop - Target, Walmart, Costco, and a local market.

Then, I took my receipts, and entered them into this Price Comparison worksheet. The math speaks for itself, and I now know where to buy most of my main items for the best prices. I was surprised to find out that while Costco is a good deal, it wasn't the best deal every time, largely when it comes to meat, other stores had better prices in my area. The local market is the best price for all of my produce, especially if I watch the weekly ads.

Another thing you could include in this section are Recipes. I have cookbooks, a separate binder, Google, and Pinterest, so I don't include recipes in this portion of my Family Binder.

I do keep a clear pocket file in this section for coupons. I keep a list of the coupons, and their expiration dates on the outside of the pocket file.

That is the entire process and use of the Food Section in the Family Binder. I have the Food Section of the Family Binder all ready to go for you in the Etsy shop.

Feel free to ask any questions, and have fun getting your food life organized!

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