Updated: Oct 26, 2018
So this post is a bit of a departure from my usual, but I think sometimes its nice to take a look when faith hits the floor and moves from the pages of a book into how we go through life.
We all have chores we don't like. Whether it's the mountains of laundry, the grass that just keeps growing, or the car that seems to grow stale fries and cracker crumbs, we approach the dreaded task with a sigh of frustration.
For me, that's grocery shopping. I swear there is a hiccup in the time continuum when I shop for the week's necessities. It's even more disorientating as the days grow shorter. Last week walked into the store in daylight, and left in dark. I checked the time as I pushed a heavy laden cart through a slushy parking lot wondering, "How long was I in there?!"
I'm fed up with how much I dread shopping, so lately I've been working on the number one tip to making ANY dreaded chore better. The tip that is even more important than being organized!
Tip number one: Attitude.
If you're a parent no doubt you've seen your kid moaning and rolling around on the floor instead of picking up their toys. I don't do that (very often), but I grit my teeth and muscle my way through the grocery store, trying to be quick and efficient at the expense of my mood and attitude. There is no room in my efficiency for pleasure, and certainly no time to stop and smile at the other tired shoppers or weary cashiers.
I have been making a point of seeing my time in the grocery store as an opportunity to be a light for Jesus. (If you bump into me at the store, don't judge me too harshly if I've got that sharp crease between my brows, this is a work in progress!) I've been making a point to smile at people, and it's surprising how many people respond to a cheerful expression with small talk.
If you'd like to join me on this, how about we start bringing Jesus with us to the store! I'm not saying you need to be stopping shoppers and ask if they've heard the good news, but you could give them a smile to brighten their mood. You might be the first person to smile at them all day!
Of course, going into the store prepped and organized helps you to go into this chore with a better frame of mind. It's hard to be relaxed when you're carrying a mental list and trying not to forget what you're there for!
I've seen some pretty impressive organization binders and cute decor pieces to keep you on track, but for me simple is key.
It's been a habit for some time to plan the week's meals before I head to the store. Planning your meals takes only minutes. Knowing what's on the menu can save you money, and it definitely saves stress later when you crack open the fridge at 5pm wondering what to serve your hungry crew!
Here are some more simple meal plan tips that help me, maybe they'll help you too!
2. Plan your meals around your schedule. Take a look at your calendar. If you have a busy night, make sure that night's meal is quick and easy, or cook double portions of another meal for leftovers, or plan something that can cook all day in a slow cooker.
3. Keep it budget friendly! Most of us are on a budget, and food is the easiest place to save a buck. If you constantly throw out old veggies, buy frozen instead. Buy in bulk when you can, use a calculator to compare costs on items by weight, and, if your weekly ingredients overlap in your recipes, you'll have less specialized ingredients and save $$$!
4. No need to be fancy every night! The first couple times I meal planned I had huge aspirations for all the lovely meals I would make that week. Reality kicked in pretty quick. Now I plan a couple "real" recipe nights, and a few "toss it together" nights.
5. I only plan suppers, because packed lunches are pretty routine (or left-overs), and I keep canned soup, the fixings for sandwiches, frozen veggies, and pasta on hand always. Same with cereal, porridge, yogurt, fruit and eggs for breakfasts. You plan the way it works best for you!
If you keep your grocery list in a handy place, you can jot down items as they run out. Then, after you make your meal plan, add the additional ingredients to the list and voila! Ready to go.
6. If you're on a really strict budget (been there!) I suggest you total up the costs on your list BEFORE you go to the store, so you can make changes to your plan. After years of grocery shopping, I can tell you the approximate price of most items we buy regularly. If in doubt, I round up. Another option is to check past receipts. With repetition, this becomes really easy, and saves unexpected surprises at the till.
7. My last tip is to have your grocery list organized by categories, this saves time, and you're less likely to miss something. As a gift to my blog subscribers, I have added a printable grocery list, and a meal planning printable too! You can find them in the download library. Both are purposefully simple in design (no color or images) to save on ink. Put them in a binder, stick them on the fridge, or hang a cute clipboard on the wall to hold them.
The best part about the grocery list, however, is that there is a reminder on the top that says, Breathe, Count Your Blessings, and Smile.
Breathe, so I remember not to stress!
Count Your Blessings, so I remember to be grateful that I have the money to go the grocery store. I can grab an extra something to leave in the Food Bank box for those who wish they had the choice to go grocery shopping.
Smile, so I take the time for people. I never get the impression from scripture that Jesus didn't have time for people. The store may not be a typical ministry field, but I am learning how I can brighten someones day!
Do you have tips to share about making chores like grocery shopping more bearable, or dare I say, enjoyable?