I had the pleasure of listening to Dean tell me all about the excitement going on at our neighbor’s house across the street this past Thursday. Lindsey had the good idea of recording the conversation. It’s these sorts of moments it’s so fun to look back on one day in the future.
I know…I can’t remember the last time I wrote a blog post either.
When I looked at our calendar for May I began to get overwhelmed with all the events. We will be out of town EVERY weekend this month AND I will be working or committed to something between 2 and 3 nights each week. Whew! I was already tired just thinking about it. I knew that with traveling I wouldn’t have time to grocery shop or menu plan so I decided I’d try the whole month at once. I know it sounds a bit overwhelming and crazy but I really enjoyed it. Again, I’m a bit of a logistics nut so the planning and organizing was so much fun for me. I was also thinking this might be a great strategy to use when the baby arrives. I remember cooking for the week with Dean but the month might even be easier.
I started with my May calendar and roughly sketched out our commitments for the month. Then I began searching the web and asking facebook for freezer meal and crock pot recipes. I found a ton and went with the ones that sounded yummy to me.
After making my menu I created a master grocery store list. One huge list of everything that we would need for the month. I also created a weekly list of the perishable items we would need to compliment each meal. My thinking is that Matt can run to the store each Monday morning and grab milk, fruit, and the 3 or 4 items on the list for the week.
I hit Costco for the bulk items and then Wal-Mart for the rest. Thankfully Matt came along for the Wal-Mart trip. I was able to divide the giant list of items between the two of us for a faster trip.
Matt and I cooked 15 dishes in 3 hours today! Whew. I know it would have taken me double the time without his help so I highly recommend a cooking buddy. I also think this would be fun with a girlfriend and a few bottles of wine! While Matt tackled the most time consuming recipe on the list I buzzed through several of the easy “build a bag” meals. 3 hours later we were finished with food for the month and then some.
I am going to estimate that cooking for the month will save us close to $100 (or that’s my goal). I spent $350 dollars buying everything I needed to make the recipes – this includes fresh produce where I could use it. I estimate that we might spend around $50 – $75 for the rest of the month with fruit, milk and the few items we need to finish up each meal if I estimate generously. The great thing is that I am finished with the grocery store until June! Matt gets to do the little trips and I get to enjoy the meals. **Side note: our grocery bill is typically about $125 a week. I cook almost every meal and we lots of fresh veggies and fruits. This might help you decide if once a month is a money saver for you.**
I invested about 2 hours into recipe searching, menu planning, and list making. I also reviewed the recipes and determined a good order to begin our cooking. I spent about 45 min. at Costco (with 2 three year old little boys) and 45 min at Wal-Mart (2 of us working lists including check out on a busy Sunday). It took us 3 hours to cook 15 dishes and only 20 minutes to clean the kitchen (because we cleaned as we went in order to use a bowl or pan again). So, all in all about 7 hours! I spend WAY more than 7 hours when I work week by week and cook each night. I know I’ll have clean up and a little bit to prepare with each meal but nothing more than 15 or 20 minutes including clean up.
Matt and I both agree that we had fun cooking in the kitchen today. Dean was napping and it gave us few hours to talk and catch up. If all of our recipes come out yummy and it seems to go smooth this month I can see us making this a regular event. Certainly not every month but every few.
Keep in mind I’m 21 weeks pregnant so some of the recipes that sound good to me today might be something I typically don’t eat or may not like the day I actually cook the dish. I figure I’m taking a gamble cooking for the month while pregnant! I also substituted low fat or reduced fat items when I could and fresh or frozen for canned.
Matt, Dean and I scored tickets to the Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream performance from the Nagengast family! We had so much fun! Since we had six tickets we invited the McLaren’s to join us for our adventure. Our seats were amazing 13th row center ice, we were close enough to see everything important and keep Dean the boys engaged. Thankfully Miranda had insider information and knew we should bring blankets and sweatshirts for the boys. The arena was pretty cold by the end of the performance. Dean loved every minute of the show. He was frequently out of his seat dancing to the music, loved looking for Mickey and Goofey, was amazed by the Rapunzel show’s acrobatics, but most of all loved his light up toy! It was a wonderful afternoon. Dean enjoyed the experience and Matt and I loved watching him take the show in. I am thankful for unexpected gifts! Thank you Nags for thinking of us.
I recently was invited to join my first book club. I have always been passionate about reading and am finally at a point in life where I can commit to something just for me! Our club met for the first time at my friend Steffany’s house. Since she was the hostess she selected the book Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The book was very fun and different from what I normally read. I enjoyed the descriptive nature of Erin’s writing and had a great time getting lost in the circus! Steffany hosted a wonderful evening complete with dinner, wine and an amazing dessert bar. She blogged about the wonderful goodies she made here. Look at those cookies aren’t they beautiful? And they tasted delicious. It was so nice to sit with a group of women, who I don’t usually have the opportunity to interact with and enjoy dinner and conversation. I am already looking forward to our next meeting at the beginning of April. I guess I better get started reading! Until Then!