Menu Planning

It typically takes about three hours to buy all of our groceries for a week. Once I have more storage area I am planning on doing biweekly shopping rather than weekly as the time it takes to buy two weeks vs one is not that much more.

I find my week goes much more smoothly with a planned menu even if it is simply a list of meal options. Over the years I have developed a  preference to have a simple list of menu options for the week as opposed to having each meal slotted to a specific day. Rather I tend to have a meal assigned to a specific child based on  its complexity and the child’s  kitchen skills.  Children will be assigned a certain day. However, if that child has an activity that precludes their being home in time to prepare dinner… we can switch days with another child and I don’t have to worry about further complications.

In planning my menus I try to find a balance between what I would really like to have and what is realistic in terms of budget – both time wise and financially. If I could afford it everything would be organic and made from scratch. Even my stock for our favorite soups would be homemade if I had my way.

However, I have to be realistic in terms of my time, physical limits (lower back injury, normally a nursing mum and operating on a sleep deficit while also homeschooling a large family) and my finances.

As the seasons change so do my menus obviously. In the summer months it is wonderful to enjoy the more readily available vegetables and salad ingredients. Winter leaves one craving soup served with piping hot biscuits or rolls. Winter is also the height of our schooling season and as such this also weighs in on my menu planning. There are more activities at the local school that my children attend, youth group activities and then there is their school work itself.

My goal for this category of my blog is to share with you my ever evolving menu plans as well as our favorite recipes. You will note that this recipes are scaled for large numbers and if you lave less than eight children in your family you will either want to scale down or make sure you have some plastic ware on hand for freezing left overs – which would be my option!


Winter HECTIC week plan



  1. Sounds like we have a lot in common. We have 13 kids and plan a weekly menu. We shop every Sunday after Mass, since we live in the country and drive into town that day.
    If you plan to shop only every other week, what about fresh produce? As it is, we pretty much have fresh stuff the first half of a week. The rest of the week is frozen or canned fruits & veggies.

    • How cool to have a mum to another bakersdozen drop by thank you! 🙂 I’m sorry to be so long in approving your comment but its for a few reasons. 1) I typically check my email on my phone these days and I have not had time to discover how to approve comments through my phone and 2) the whole crew at home has been ill including myself. Most of us had a nasty upper respiratory virus that lasts 2 – 3 weeks and the two youngest also developed pneumonia.

      I have tried to do the groceries by-weekly and the difficulty is the fresh fruit and vegetable portion of the groceries. I would like to get so that I have my bulk and frozen items purchased 1 – 2 items a month and the fresh items and dairy weekly or biweekly. before I can attempt that I will need a second fridge and a large freezer! It was easier to do this in Canada as we had a cold room storage area in the basement and could keep vegetable and fruit in it – as it provided similar storage conditions as the large units in warehouses offer.

      I’m struggling with the menu planning right now as I am trying to incorporate a Sonoma type diet into our life style which is somewhat expensive in terms of the ingredients it requires but on the other side of the equation – there is a lot less processed food so that is a large savings. I use a lot of frozen vegetables, I think the family favorite is broccoli!

      I try to engage the older children in the cooking and menu planning as well. I would love a chance to exchange ideas and recipes. Do you find it as much a challenge as I do to find large family friendly pots & pans etc?
      looking forward to hearing back from you!


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