Good grief, a whole week since I've blogged. I guess the good news is that I've been busy and quite productive doing things around the house. One of my projects has been getting the office up to speed. And, wouldn't you know it, Robyn is hosting a "Show Your Creative Space" tour. Just in time, I have mine all cleaned up! You would not have wanted to see it last week. I've also been inspired of late to get my menu and grocery shopping system back up to speed. It seems there are a number of bloggers working on the same kind of thing, probably because with the fall weather we all feel like cooking again! I've had fun pouring over other people's ideas, and even asking my friends "do you plan menus, how often do you shop?" (I'm sure they're thinking I need to get a life, but after 20 plus years of doing this, I'm thinkin' there has to be a way to shake it up a bit and make it more fun.) In the end, I've stuck to the plan I've had all along, with a few changes. (Isn't that the way it goes?) I have a three-ring binder divided into several sections -- menu lists, copies of my grocery list, blank weekly menu sheets, even a special section for holiday meals and the menus I've done in the past. I managed to weed through a lot of old recipes (and stole Becky's idea that my "recipes to be tried section" will be limited to a certain number. If I add a new one, then I take one out that has been there forever. If I haven't been inspired to try it yet, it must not be that great.) Also, before I put a menu on my master menu list, I have a self-imposed rule that I must have made the dish at least twice and that it was generally favored by most all of the family. This way my menu list is comprised of all family favorites. I make a menu plan for the week, but it's flexible enough to switch the days around, since I would go crazy trying to stick to a rigid plan. Also, I plan my menus from what I have in my freezer. I shop for meat, poultry, fish when its on sale. Then on menu planning day, I take stock of what I have in the freezer, plan the menu accordingly, and make up a shopping list for any other ingredients I might need, as well as staples. For this, I have a shopping list that I've put on the computer and can just print out. Mostly though, I rely on the list on the fridge. When we're out of something, I write it down. I've trained my family that if they want something, write it on the list. I'm not responsible for remembering anything they just tell me! As I shop, I buy whatever meat is on sale for the next week. I guess I should add that I also use the newspaper ads to make up my menus. If I have beef in the freezer and taco stuff is on sale, well. . . we're having tacos. Short of coming up with a flow chart, this system seems to work for me!