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Meal Planning for Busy Moms

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img_4805Meal planning… the bane of my existence.  This is a task constantly on my to-do list.  I have exhausted my research on how to do it effectively.  It is a constant work in progress because every week of my life is different and can change at the drop of a hat.  I have tried the once a month meal planning… check it out HERE.  I would love to do this, but I do not have a day (or two) to grocery shop and prep all my meals.   It literally is a hug under taking, albeit well worth it in the end because all your meals for a month are planned and finished. In reality you only have to meal prep 12 times a year… doesn’t that sound awesome?!?!  When I become super mommy I am going to do it.  While I am waiting for my cape and superpowers to arrive I have come up with the following system.
This meal planning system dawned on me in an effort to up-cycle one of my unused planners.  I am a self proclaimed planner addict.  I have too many to count and I seem to be mildly addicted to acquiring new ones.  I love to switch planners because it puts me in a zen-like state to re-organize and go through all my planner things.  The Living Well Spending Less planner has been sitting in my planner pile for awhile now… I think a year.   It was developed by Ruth Soukup.  She has written several organization/declutter books that I have read as well.  I purchased it because I loved the basics of it.  It has a very thorough financial section and nicely divided calendar spreads with plenty of room.  Here are some quick clips from the planner.
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img_5263I decided not to use the planner as a planner because I did not like the paper weight (since which they have increased the weight of the paper in her newest addition).  I am a pen addict as well and all the PaperMate Flairs bled right through.  Only ball points worked.
Then the day came when I needed more space for my meal planning.  What I was really looking for was a place to write the recipes AND ingredients.  I hated having to pull out 7 different cookbooks.  I don’t cook anything complex, so most of my go-to recipes can be simply copied.  This is what I came up with…
I am trying out a new cook book that I of course found in the bargain section at Barnes & Noble.  Worth every penny. It is Crock Pot 3 Books in 1 Cookbook featuring the chicken cookbook, 5 ingredients or less, and soups and stews cookbook.
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I picked out the recipes and listed them in my planner…
Each day I put the title of the meal, listed the ingredients in blue, and simple directions in green (add water, chop, etc.)  On the far right I put how long I have to cook it for.
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Then I went through and added all the ingredients on my shopping list using this awesome pad.  I can’t find where I purchased the pad but amazon has some similar HERE.
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This seemed to work out for the most part.  I loved only having to refer to one place for recipes.
What do you use for meal planning? What are your thoughts on what I did?
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