Monday Meal Plans

Today begins a busy week. Judah and Tilly start school at the Community College. Judah has thrown himself in from day one last year. He has been taking Honors classes every quarter, is in the Drama Club, Campus Christian Fellowship (vice president this year), Criminal Justice Club, Spanish Club and now has a job as parking monitor. Tilly will have her very first classroom experience…and start Driver’s Ed the same day! Along with that we have Boy Scouts, an open house and Mordecai and Avi’s school, a Cub Scout bonfire at our  home and a few doctors visits thrown in…and homeschooling of course. With a busy week, I knew that meal plans were necessary to save my sanity. So here it  is:

Large Family Meal Plans:


lunch: yogurt, English muffins, apples

dinner: chicken enchiladas, rice, salad


lunch: ham and cheese wraps, fruit

dinner: lasagna, salad, focaccia bread


lunch: homemade mac and cheese

dinner: tacos, chips, rice


lunch: PBJ’s, raw veggies

dinner: potato soup with cheddar and bacon, homemade bread


lunch: soup and quesadillas

dinner: crockpot peanut chicken, rice, veggies

Did you make meal plans for the week? If you did, leave a link in the comments (or a list). I’d love to check them out!



Meal Plans, Grocery Shopping, and a Large Family

Meal Plans and Grocery Shopping for a Large Family

Meal Plans and Grocery Shopping for the Large FamilySome of the most frequently asked questions I get on this blog relate to: meal plans and grocery shopping in our large family. This post will be my attempt at answering those.

How much money does it cost to feed your large family?

We spend $1,200 per month on groceries for our large family. I know this is what we spend and no more because we use cash only for groceries. Every two weeks we put $600 in an envelope and use that to purchase our food. The number $1,200 honestly sounds astronomically huge to me, but then I remind myself that we currently have ten kids and two adults, so that comes to $100 a month per person. Or $400 per month for a family of four. This is interestingly less than USA Today reported the average family of four spent on groceries in 2013. According to the USDA Food Plans list, a family my size, in June 2014,  would have spent $441.20 per week on the thrifty plan and $868.50 per week on the liberal plan. So I guess you could say we are doing okay.

How often and where do you shop?

I shop 3-4 times per month. We shop at: Costco, Cash & Carry (restaurant supply store), a produce market in the summer, and local grocery stores based on their sales. We shop Costco perhaps every six weeks, Cash & Carry about twice per month and the local stores when we need specific items or there are great sales.

Do you meal plan or shop first?

Meal plan, always! I gather the Tuesday sale fliers and see if there is anything worth purchasing (meat on sale, etc). I may base a few meals off of the sales or I may not. We have a clipboard hanging in our pantry with a printed list and we highlight items as they are needed. When we use up or run low on something, we simply highlight it on the list.

How do you meal plan?

I hate cooking, but you probably already know that. Even more than cooking, I hate meal planning. It really shouldn’t be that hard, since we eat every day of the year, but it really can seem overwhelming to me. Life is much, much better when I meal plan, however. This week I gave Tilly the job of meal planning because she is a Type A and she was craving all sorts of her favorite foods after two months of going without. Here is our list for the upcoming week:

Lunches: pizza bread (homemade), pita bread and tuna, sandwiches, nachos, sandwiches.

This is the base plan and we will add to it depending on what we have on hand. Each lunch will include some type of fruit, veggie, or both. We may add chips, pretzels, leftovers, or whatever else we have on hand.

Dinners: Chicken enchiladas and rice, homemade pizza, bean burritos and corn chips, cheese steaks, chili and potato wedges.

Today I went shopping and purchased $159 worth of food. This $159 included supplies to pack five sack lunches each day for the five kids attending theater camp (so 25 sack lunches).Tomorrow I will head to Cash & Carry and buy the bulk of our produce and a few staples (I will probably spend $150 there). I have money “left over” from last week, enough to cover whatever we need.

A few notes about meal planning:

This is a base plan. Every dinner includes veggies and usually a salad. Rice is eaten three or more times per week. We prefer to plan just the main dish and be a bit spontaneous with the rest.

We don’t plan each breakfast. We always have a supply of: eggs, rolled oats and the staples for baked goods (pancakes, muffins, etc).

Do you cook in bulk and freeze or cook fresh each night?

Both. I prefer to have the freezer stocked will meals, but that doesn’t always happen. Here are two great posts that describe my methods: Freezer Cooking for Real Moms  and Freezer Meals for the Large Family

What items do you buy in bulk?

Staples such as: oatmeal, flour, sugar, beans, grains. We purchase most of our produce from Cash&Carry (a restaurant supply store): bags of apples, oranges, lemons, avocados, six-pack bags of peppers, scallions, potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, etc.

Meat is purchased either: on sale at our local grocery stores or Costco. Last time ground beef went on sale for $2.99 per pound, I went and bought $100 worth of meat and stuck in  our freezer. That was months ago and I am still using it. Costco offers whole chickens for $1.29 per pound. I can often find drumsticks for $0.99 or $1.09 per pound and I stock up then.

This is a basic overview of how I meal plan, grocery shop and feed my large family. Do you have any other questions? Ask away!

Large Family Meal Plans

birth photos, birth photography, bellingham birth photographer

Sunday morning, Father’s Day here in the U.S, I got to photograph this sweet girl’s entrance into the world and was even home in time to enjoy lunch with my family.

I went for a walk in the afternoon and began work on refurbishing our old lockers after dinner. I am so excited about this project. It involves Spray Paint! And Sharpies! And Vintage Colors!

Once the kids were safely tucked in bed, Chuck and I left the teens in charge and headed out for a date. To the grocery store. Let me tell you, my husband is much better grocery shopping partner than six kids. But don’t tell them that.

I have done a horrible job lately of meal planning…and with a family this size, that just isn’t pretty. And it really stresses me out.  So, here I present to you our: Large Family Meal Plan


spinach and meat lasagna, salad and focaccia bread

chicken enchiladas

crockpot orange chicken and stir fry veggies


Whole chicken in crockpot, rice, roasted cabbage wedges


I have stocked the shelves with items for lunch:

white albacore tuna, english muffins, summer sausage, bread, peanut butter, nutella

Weekly shopping for my crew means trips to several stores, so this morning I will load up and fresh produce, cheese and milk.

The meal plans may not impress Martha Stewart, but I can tell you they will make my week a whole lot easier!

If you are interested in hearing updates and seeing pics and videos of Judah and Tilly at Teen Missions, be sure and follow me on Facebook. I will probably post an occassional update here, but it is easiest to “share” directly from the Teen Missions page.

Have a great Monday!



Large Family Meal Plans

Large Family Meal plans, meal plans, weekly meal plans, Monday

Breakfast: oatmeal and fruit salad

Lunch: manicotti (assembling this from leftovers in my fridge)

Dinner: loaded baked potato soup and homemade bread


Breakfast: peanut butter toast and Cream of Wheat

Lunch: nachos and refried beans

Dinner: sesame chicken over rice,  broccoli


Breakfast: eggs and tortillas

Lunch: sack lunches (Kalina has an appointment at Seattle Children’s and this is a treat for my homeschooled kids!) PBJ’s, apples, cheese sticks, pretzels, juice

Dinner: spicy red beans and rice


Breakfast: yogurt and toast

Lunch: quesadillas and ramen noodles

Dinner: Crockpot chicken, potato wedges and veggies


Breakfast: oatmeal with berries (frozen)

Lunch: homemade mac and cheese with sausage

Dinner: Crockpot orange chicken, rice and veggies

{I should add here, that nearly every lunch and every dinner is accompanied by veggies, even if they aren’t listed. In the beginning of the week, especially, I make sure to use up whatever produce I have in my fridge to avoid waste. If a veggie is specifically mentioned, it is either because I purchased it for that meal, or it is a family favorite with that meal. Otherwise, I wing it and use up whatever I have. Our family is a big fan of raw veggie plates, so that frequently makes an appearance on our table.}