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What is living simply?

  • Living simply is not so much about the particulars of our lives as much as it is about the principles that govern them. Knowing what God has called you to do, and then doing it--that's living simply.

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  • On Jan. 11, Joanne suffered a major stroke. She is now at home and continues on the journey to recovery.

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Dawn W

My planning and shopping process is almost identical to yours! Since I do most of my shopping at a Super WalMart (and my grocery list is grouped according to the aisles there), I even goes as far as to go through the self-check lines so that I can bag my own groceries just the way I want them - out of the cart that has the items already grouped, too. Then when I get home if the hubby/kids help me unload, I stand in the kitchen and direct where they are to place the bags as they are carried in. (i.e., bags of dry goods are placed near the pantry, bags of frozen foods on the counter closest to the 'fridge, etc.)

I make a Sam's Club run about every 3-4 weeks for my bulk items and some bulk meats that I freeze.

I have a list of about 30 meals that are our family favorites that I almost always have the ingredients to make. Then, like you, I fill in with new recipes (or complicated ones) on days that I know I'm going to have more time to be "playing" in the kitchen.

It's so nice to know there are other women out there that plan things down to the detail like me. Most of my friends don't and, quite frankly, I think they believe I'm a little weird (OCD maybe?) about it. All I know is that it keeps my little part of the world running a little more smoothly!!!

Holly @ Crownlaiddown

I have two clipboards. One with a monthly menu and the second for groceries. I make it a goal to shop big every two weeks. I try to NEVER go to the store for things I miss. That is just a goal. Then I have a budget of about $250 every two weeks (including paper products, cleaners and diapers). So I try to plan for things that will stretch or be freezable. Every week or two, I pull out a frozen meal and try to keep our freezer from overflowing.

Often I buy frozen veggies more than canned. I prefer to buy cheese that is a block and sometimes make baggies of cubes, sticks and shredded. I buy hamburger in bulk and then seperate it and freeze it. If I make to much beef at once, I will freeze the rest for a quick meal later.

Oh, and we get milk once a week from the dairy. This saves on not having to stop by the store during the two weeks.

I guess that's all--sometimes I do coupons well and sometimes not. I guess when all our children are in school, I'll do better.

Susan

I've been doing this more and more. When I don't do it...we feel it in time, $$ and frustration. Now that the girl won't have volleyball practice every day and games 2-3x a week...it will be easier. She will work more after school, but since she drives and then can just eat when she gets home, that will "free up" several nights a week for me. (Don't get me wrong...I love watching her play and have even just shown up for practices to watch) but I think I am ready for a break. The fact that she's now picked up soccer...and will pick up hours during the week...well, my little girl is growing up and need to let her. (sob. hiccup.)

Anyway...got off subject. So I'll continue off topic...got it today and LOVE it. You are so amazingly talented. I can't wait to get the study and get it bound and all wrapped up and pretty to show off...er...I mean, to just take with me to bible study :)

Love ya.

P.S. I am LOVING this series you are doing! It is helping me get my act together. Well at least giving me IDEAS to start THINKING about getting my act together. LOL.

Helen

I also try to plan my menus on Saturday...it was difficult when the girls both had soccer games on Saturday to do it but I am always glad when I have taken the time to plan it out.
Lately as I feel in a bit of a cooking slump...I have been keeping a pretty file folder that has recipes that I tear out of magazines so I don't have to hunt for them later or they have been already recycled. Then if the recipe is a keeper than I keep it in a binder as a family favorite. I also try to find recipes that are an easy go to meal if I need to take a meal to a family.

The file folder has one side of recipes to try and the other side has the week's recipes all in one place...

Some weeks are a free for all and I will ask each person to pick one dinner...there are 5 of us so that can get us through the week fairly easily...although I know our 5 year old will always pick cheeseburgers...but hey the grill is on the covered patio so that is not too difficult to accomplish otherwise it is the Foreman grill.

Tara

That is one of my biggest pet peeves...baggers putting cold items with non-cold items. I try to unload them all together and even leave a space in between but they still sometimes put them together.

I can't tell you how many times I've left something in a bag when I thought nothing was cold only to find out it ruined because I didn't put it in the fridge. I sometimes will bag my own just to avoid the trouble later.

I'm enjoying your posts on simplifying. Thanks for sharing.

Nikki

You all are my heroes. I aspire to be like you all!

I'm trying to plan out a weekly dinner list; sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. I try to go through cookbooks, the sale ads, and also my coupons, on Tuesday nights.

I go shopping on Wednesdays (double ad day at my grocery store), and I take an extra trip to another store on a separate day maybe 1-2x/month if they have great sales combined with the coupons I have. I have a coupon holder that has everything separated by type, then the coupons I plan to use that day are in order in the front pouch. I do try to group items together at the store as well, and my most obsessive action is grouping them specifically as I get them out of the cart in the checkout line... that way the checker has no excuses. :)

Oh, and lastly... we get all our meat and frozen veggies delivered once every 8-10 months or so. Result? I NEVER have to buy meat at the store and we ALWAYS have something to eat, even during a snowstorm when all the food has been gone over in the stores. And it's all natural/locally grown, and similarly priced to the store.. so it's a win-win for everyone.

lisa@littlesliceoflife

Hi Joanne. I'm visiting from mer@7000feet's blog. Usually when I read your posts I feel so inadequate! :-) However,I'm really happy that I seem to have the same meal planning/shopping routine that you do. Woo Hoo! I'm also glad to know that I'm not the only one who organizes my cart and uses the self-check line just so I can group things together based on where they go at home. My hubby thinks I'm weird!

Denise

What a nice entry! I really enjoyed reading it. I menu plan but generally just come up with different meals for the week - no assigned days and such. Most of our food is from scratch and was purchased on sale at a great price. It works for us! I have a pretty recent entry about it here:

http://plainolfood.blogspot.com/2008/09/menu-planning-saves-money-time-lends.html

Bonnie

Loved this post !! I had to laugh when I read that you group like items in your cart !! I'm a bit like that too ...


I recently did a post on menu planning as well ... http://bonnie-simple-beauty.blogspot.com/2008/10/sharing-menu-plans.html

Sara

Thanks for the post Joanne. What you said is actually reasuring. I organize my grocery shopping in a similar way. It's so worth it getting meals planned and lists ready. I'm much less stressed at the store.

Laura

Menu planning has been such a huge lifesaver for me which is why I started Menu Plan Monday. Please join hundreds of women as we plan and share our menus each week:

http://orgjunkie.com/menu-plan-monday

Diane

Oh to be as organized as you! I try, and usually it's good for about a week or two then something happens and it all falls apart. But I just keep trying ... thanks for the help, suggestions and INSPIRATION you give.

Diane

Meredith

Joanne...thank you! I was planning to write a meal system post soon and now I can pretty much just copy and paste from yours. :) Just kidding, of course, but seriously, we're very much alike in our method.

I don't assign nights to my meals. I shop every two weeks so I keep a list of the meals I have ingredients for on the fridge and I decide each day what I'll prepare for dinner. Plus, I do a lot of prep when I get home from my bi-monthly trip to the store so that I can throw meals together quickly during the week.

When I post, I'll link back here!

Gretchen

I'm a little more loosey goosey than you are, but the end result is similar. I try to plan crock pot meals for busy days and our big treats are LIttle Caesars ($5.55/pizza) on Friday nights and Taco Bell on Sundays for lunch. Sometimes I miss a meal, and when all else fails, we do breakfast for dinner ("mcmuffins" are a fave). Still, no matter how well prepared I am, I'm never thrilled to pull it all off at 5:00. I'm tired! Tonight, though, my son planned the meal, and helped prepare it: pb and j and carrots and pear/apple. Worked for me.

Kristy

I like your ideas for shopping. I don't actually have a plan at all and usually end up at the store several times a week - spending way more than I should. I've been married for almost 18 yrs - you would think I would have a plan by now!

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