As I sat down at my desk on Saturday morning to write a menu plan for the week, I started to think about how much planning goes into keeping our lives running smoothly.
I have always menu-planned to some degree but I have now developed a routine which works for us. Every Saturday morning I write a plan for the next 7 – 10 days. I keep in mind what food I have in the refrigerator as well as what is available in the garden. From that I then write a shopping list. This generally a few basic groceries such as milk and cheese as well as fruit and vegetables. I buy meat every couple of months and pantry staples about every 3 months.
We have big plans, such as our overseas trip but also small, day-to-day plans that ensure things run smoothly and we work towards achieving our goals. If this sounds like our lives are totally structured and regimented, think again as nothing could be further from the truth.
Over breakfast on a Saturday morning, either The Duke or I are often heard to say, “So, what are your plans for today?” Then follows a discussion about what we have individually considered that we need to get done. It usually centres around shopping, washing, lawn mowing and the like. The next step is to plan.
On Saturday morning we had to take the dog to the vet at 8.30am so we decided to leave the shopping until Sunday morning and do some outdoor work. We needed to finish by 4.30pm so we could be cleaned up and head off to dinner and the movies by 6pm. We planned our outdoor work and achieved a real sense of satisfaction when the jobs were done. All of the piles of mulch were collected from various spots around the yard, we weeded and mulched the garden bed beside the front steps. The Duke lightly pruned the roses and we planted 5 more pineapple tops. The remainder of the mulch was spread under the native shrubs on the front verge.
Since it was drizzling with rain most of the day we then adjourned under the house to start on one of the other jobs on the master list – covering the area which is bare dirt under the verandah with pebbles. The original plan was to build 3 more low retaining walls to create stepped levels to hold the pebbles in place, however, we have decided to retain the sections using some timber sleepers. We will also place some along the outside edge to separate the pebbled area from the garden bed outside. We have calculated how many sleepers, how much weed mat and the volume of pebbles that we will need to complete the job. The ground has been dug out and is almost at the levels we need so I hope we can get this finished over the next few weeks.
Sunday was a different story. I did the ironing early, before we went to do the shopping in a couple of different locations and came home with the intention of more outdoor work. One simple message on the answering machine changed that. A friend had left a message to ask us to come for drinks at 4pm, so I amended the menu plan as I knew we would have plenty of late afternoon/evening nibbles. I then spent the rest of the day in the kitchen. I made pizza bases, wraps for our lunches and a chocolate cake (all gluten-free). I made 1 pizza and took that and the chocolate cake with us that afternoon. The remainder of the pizza bases are partly pre-cooked and in the freezer.
So, to round off a fairly long-winded story, I think it is important to have a plan, otherwise things can turn into a disorganised jumble and you end up wasting a lot of time. The organisation that results from these plans allows you the flexibility to change those plans to accommodate things that arise out of the blue. What do you think?