Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Problems With Planning

Since the birth of my fifth child, it's been vital to bring some kind of organization into my life. One of the best ways to do that has been to plan ahead a week at a time (at least) what I'm going to fix for dinner.

However, as my husband's work schedule has gotten increasingly less dependable, it's been almost impossible to actually stick to anything I plan. (Otherwise, you'd see me posting a Meal Plan Monday here.)

I'll use this week as an example of the trouble I'm having with this.

The Original Schedule:

Day Work Schedule Main Dish
Sunday 2pm-10pm Easy Chicken Casserole (prepared in advance)
Monday 8am-5pm Italian Meatloaf
Tuesday Off Sesame Pork and Broccoli
Wednesday 6am-3pm Pasta
Thursday 3pm-11pm Beef Tips
Friday 7am-3pm Pork Ribs in Barbeque Sauce
Saturday Off Chicken Piccata

Last week, when I would've prepared the casserole and put it in the freezer for Sunday, I got sick. I didn't think it would be a problem, because I could boil the chicken in the morning before church and throw it together once we got home at 12:30 and still have enough time for my husband to eat before leaving for work. Unfortunately, we didn't get home until 1pm. So much for that.

Monday night, my husband tells me that his schedule for Friday has changed. Instead of opening, the store manager changed him to close (3-11). Since hubby is the one that makes Pork Ribs, I changed that to Tuesday's dinner.

Routinely, we have something fast and simple on Wednesdays, because the girls go to Awanas (youth program) at church in the evenings. Pasta is always my fastest dish. However, my younger daughter now also has basketball practice at church on Thursday nights, so I'd like to have another "quicky" without resorting to something canned (like Chow Mein).

Since we've already had the barbeque pork, I'll have to fix pork and broccoli in its place. Not a big deal, really, but it's more prep and takes longer to cook, and the baby's feeding and short nap usually overlaps into this time frame. So, I either let her cry until I'm done, or make dinner wait until I get her settled down. Not great choices either way.

This was actually an easy week in comparison to some we've had. I don't know how many times his schedule not only changed, he got called in on his day off (the day we plan for him to cook). That throws things into a tizzy, I can tell you.

So, I do plan out my meals. I just don't always have the opportunity to stick to the schedule. Lucky for me (and the family), I've gotten pretty good at scrambling in a pinch. At the worst, I can always fix breakfast for dinner, which everyone enjoys.

How about you? Do you plan your dinners in advance? What do you do if something unexpected pops up?


Cindy said...

Thanks for the mention, and the link. I hope I live up to the expectation!

OMG, you have FIVE little ones and still can actually plan meals??!? You've already exceeded any expectation I could ever have!

I do try to plan things out at least a couple days ahead of time, but I'm also only cooking for myself and my brother... I have gotten to the point where I really don't like to freeze raw ingredients, I want to buy my steaks/roasts/etc and then cook 'em up right away, which makes for more frequent shopping trips.

If something truly unexpected crops up, I'm kinda screwed, because my pantry is not nearly as well stocked as it should be - that is a goal for 2008 - have as much as possible already in stock for any recipe that pops into my head.

- C.

Wendy said...

Cindy, I do have five children, but they're not all little. The oldest is in college right now. But I DO have two in diapers, so I guess that still counts for busy, huh?

I used to run to the store all the time, but the way things are now I just don't have time for that (and gas is so expensive, I can't afford the extra trips.) Planning ahead helps avoid that, but even then if I find out I'm missing something, I improvise with what I've got. So far, no complaints, so it must be working! :)

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