So far you have planned your families favorite meals, you then organized them into a monthly menu schedule and created a shopping list, now you have to actually go and buy the items.
There was a time long ago, that I would do all of our families shopping alone, I would look forward to “getting away” relaxing a bit, maybe getting a cup of coffee and enjoying my shopping trip all by myself. But those days are long gone:) Now I prefer to always take someone with me, as my husband says,
“it is always safer in numbers.”
There was also a time that I had to take all of my children, every time to the store. It could get pretty bad if you didn’t prepare and plan for the trip. I would make sure that we were all ready to go the night before. I would lay out clothing, get snacks and have lunch packed in the cooler to take with us. We had all of our items ready and sitting in the van. In the summer months I make sure to pack a cooler for cold items. I take a plastic bin for our bread store trip, to avoid any smooshed breads. (We usually buy 15 loaves of bread each month.)
I would try to get to bed early the night before, knowing that it was going to be a long exhausting day. I got up in plenty of time to get myself ready. Then I would get the children up. We would eat breakfast, clean them up, and get them ready. After we were finished we left. I would try and do my big stores first like Walmart and Aldis and save the smaller stores like our meat store for afterwards in case babies fell asleep, I could leave them in the van with an older sibling.
I would have to time this all around a nursing baby as well, usually about halfway through the second store, the baby would be ready to eat. I would plan on taking my sling with me to readily feed him, while continuing my shopping trip. We would take our sit and stand stroller, placing the baby and a “listening” preschooler on the back. The other toddlers each went in a cart with an older sibling. We usually use 2 carts per store.
For the most part we could get through our shopping. By the time we were finished, it was time for lunch and I would pull out the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, and water bottles. We have about a 20 minute drive home and they would happily eat.
Then we would arrive home, this was the exhausting part….after being gone all day with tired children and ready for naps, I would still have to come home and put away all of the groceries. It was hard, there was usually a few crying babies while I did it, but we got through it.
That was then……but this is now………..
For about the last year, I would say, our shopping trips have changed dramatically. Long gone are the days of fussing toddlers and little ones not wanting to go shopping. My daughter has discovered that she really does not enjoy shopping at all. Not even clothing shopping. She would rather stay home and watch all of the babies then go shopping:) So we usually take her up on that offer. I usually go with my husband, an older son, a middle child, and the baby.
Now shopping is much more stress free. My husband usually takes the baby and holds him throughout the stores. I am free to quickly get through my list. I have one child stay constantly behind me so that I can pass along the items into their cart. As soon as their cart fills we switch carts and the older one pushes the heavier cart.
One thing I recommend taking is a pen. You must, must, must take a pen shopping with you. When we have a large shopping list, there are things that you won’t be able to get due to shortages or something you just forgot. I usually circle these items so that I can look for them in the next store easily.
I also take hand cleaner with me. Lots of germs at the store and when sickness spreads through a large family, it can wipe us out for months at a time. As soon as we get back into our vehicle all hands go out for a hand cleaner time.
I am happy to say that I now have an official pantry stacker. My 16 year old is proficient at putting away the groceries. She dutifully takes on that role and does an amazing job. Once in awhile if she is gone and I have to put away the groceries, I am at a lost for a few moments. I am truly thankful that she enjoys doing that for our family. It is a huge help.
So now when we get home from grocery shopping my husband and two oldest boys carry in all of the groceries to the basement. I usually send the middle girls to go out and clean out any miscellaneous stuff out of the front of the van. I am then free to sit with toddlers who missed their momma while she was gone and babies that need momma, cause they are tired. It works out much better now.
Shopping just gets a whole lot easier.
Now that we have a stacked pantry and full refrigerator…it is time to prep the foodphoto attribute