WFMW — Master Grocery Lists


Tim and I are on a budget. Oh the joys of budgeting: all that money saved because we aren’t out shopping, healthier hearts and slimmer hips because of those hearty home baked meals (none of that yucky fast food), and of course, wonderful family time at home. No pesky movie outings to schedule or babysitters to hire. Ah, yes, it’s definitely a special delight.

So, in honor of Budgeting Is Fun, I thought I would post a simple Works for Me Wednesday blog about grocery shopping.

righteous ringleader in red

We did splurge and go to the fair this month – next year we’ll actually plan it into the budget. Heh, heh.

In an attempt to be more organized in my grocery shopping, I decided to try my hand at a little Microsoft Word Grocery List Magic. MWGLM – it’s catchy, I know. You probably need some MWGLM in your life as well. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

First I searched far and wide online to find a basic grocery list that would suit my needs. I ended up at Donna Young’s amazing website. She has forms, planners, and blank printables in abundance. In her kitchen section, I discovered the perfect grocery list.

I took the basic list and modified it to fit the five stores I most frequently visit. In my case, that would be Target, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Costco, and Trader Joe’s. If I were truly organized (ie obsessive compulsive) I would have each store organized by aisle, but there are limits to how far I was willing to take this project. Not that MWGLM couldn’t take you there, with a little work.

At the beginning of each month, I can print out my lists and mark them as necessary. Better yet, Tim and the children can check off things they need. Everything is organized by store and I am able to quickly plan my errands and shopping.

I can help you with the list, Mom

“I’ll take TWO of everything, Mommy.”

Here are the links to my five shopping lists. They are all Word documents (sorry for those of you who are still using Word Star or Lotus Ami Pro, nothing personal you understand). You are welcome to look them over, save them to your computer, and change as necessary. For that matter, you can print them out as coloring pages for your preschoolers. Call it school.

Fred Meyer
Trader Joe’s

Head on over to Rocks in My Dryer for further Works for Me Wednesday links.


Some other Duckabush WFMW Posts

Respecting Your Husband
Devotional Books for Little Ones
Homeschooling Faves
Laundry Organizer
Giant Whiteboard
Travel Outfits

Join us for our Tuesday Tips for Parenting

Calling Your Child
Creative Use for the Timer
First Time Obedience
Sermon Notes
Thorough Job
Paper Dolls
Physical Exercise

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Tuesday Tips for Parenting – Physical Exercise

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Raising a large family can be challenging in the Pacific Northwest. As the winter rains settle in, sometimes for weeks at a time, cabin fever can become a serious problem. The kids can get a little antsy, too.

When we first moved to Washington, Kathy used to throw the kids in the van and drive around, looking for sunshine. Happily, gas prices were comparatively cheap in those days, but it was a rather expensive and fruitless hobby. My wife eventually gave it up in favor of her affair with the coffee bean, in all its varied forms. “Nothing beats the rainy-day blues like a triple-shot-white-chocolate mocha!” she trills, cheerfully.

Later, we lived on the Olympic Peninsula, on the edge of the rainforest. During the winter, the sun would clear the ridge only between 10:30 am and 2 pm, when it deigned to shine at all. As we huddled inside, away from the incessant damp, we suffered from an excess of boundless youthful energy. We desperately sought an outlet for that restlessness; a way to take the edge off the bickering and fighting that seems to enshroud a family after a long day of being cooped-up together.

Homeschooling Pyramid
A practical application of Egyptian History studies.

Late one afternoon, in a fit of brilliance brought on by exasperation, Kathy told the older three, “Go run around the house 5 times.” After what seemed to be half an hour of whining and finding their shoes, they all trooped out, and performed the requisite number of laps around the house. Coming inside, we were amazed to hear them cheerfully laughing together. They were able to concentrate on school for at least another half-hour, finishing the day’s schooling in short order.

Sometimes parents need a ‘punishment’ that doesn’t carry with it a strong sense of condemnation for wrong-doing. Kids (whose sense of justice is often finely-tuned) bitterly resent inequity or false accusations, yet parents (many lacking the wisdom of Solomon) are often unable to accurately and specifically assign guilt or responsibility for low-level bickering. This is where physical exercise comes in so handily: you can dish it out without prejudice even where there is no specific guilt.

As I recently explained to one of my sons, “When I use physical exercise as a punishment, I’m actually giving you a gift. I’m toughening you up and helping you to build strength, which improves your health and expands your horizons of possibility as a man.”

“Uh huh,” he agreed. “Sounds good. But what about you? Don’t your horizons need to be expanded?”

“I’m already a man,” I explained patiently. “My horizons are just fine. Go run to the end of the cul-de-sac and back.”

Running (or doing push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, or whatever) gives a child some distance from conflict and burns off restless energy which often leaks out in misbehavior. The kids quickly learned that being sent to run the length of our driveway a few times (about 250′ each way) was not a big deal in terms of parental disapproval — sometimes we would send them to run as a proactive measure, rather than reacting to a particular fight or disagreement. More often than not, we found that it produces a cheerful spirit and deters all kinds of sinful mischief.

Karate Kid David
As Miyagi-san said, “If do right, no can defense.”

We also use physical exercise for restitution in cases of unintentional injury, when a child hurts a sibling by accident. I usually ask two questions:

“Did you hurt your brother [sister] on purpose?”
“Did you say you were sorry?”

If the answers are “No”, and “Yes” (in that order), and the injured party agrees, then I simply require the guilty child to apologize. I usually go on to say, “You are, however, responsible for what your body does, even by accident. To convincingly demonstrate your regret to your sibling, please give them 10 push-ups.”

For some reason, the injured party is usually satisfied, and the guilty child is not resentful — physical exercise is correctly viewed as a low-level, non-condemning punishment, and so we avoid creating a stumbling block of injustice. Sometimes the kids ‘settle out of court’ by voluntarily offering push-ups when they hurt each other; it’s a great way to avoid coming to my negative attention altogether.

Push-up Five
Nobody said they had to be particularly good push-ups …

I can just see it now, as one of my children accepts an Olympic Gold Medal. “Do you have any words for the children of America? Tell us the secret of your success,” begs a reporter. “No problem,” laughs my child, confidently. “Just be as naughty as you can, and you’ll be an Olympic-class athlete in no time.”

Hmmm. Maybe I shouldn’t rush out to borrow money against those future cereal-box endorsements.

Project 365, Day 267

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Spiritually Drained

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary
You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin

david crosses swords

My spirit was drained and my soul weary by the time Sunday evening approached. I had a full morning of ministry and Bible study. The afternoon was largely spent in intense conversation and prayer with a new accountability partner. By the time I returned home, there was less than an hour before we needed to leave for the Concert of Prayer. I felt close to tears. My spiritual muscles were sore from use and my faith joints creaky and protesting.

Tim drew me outside to sit with him in the sunshine. We basked in the warmth of the late afternoon and spent precious minutes in sweet conversation. He did NOT offer to take the children off to church and let me stay home. He did NOT say we should all take the evening off from responsibilities. Neither did he lecture me about the importance of prayer and our commitment to the church or remind me of all the people we’ve invited to come and pray this evening.

He gave me time to talk and absorb the glory of the warm sun and then cheerfully gathered the family into the van.

My spirit quailed at the thought of spending another hour and a half at church. I was drained and weary. I had already given of myself – to the grownups in our Sunday School class, to the preschoolers, to the ministry leaders, to my family, to friends. I had already spent time in the Word, in prayer and in service. Surely I deserved some quiet time alone.

the lord builds the house

Welcome to the Ministry Fair!

How is it possible that I, who have been a believer for so long and who comes from a rich and godly heritage, could have such weak spiritual muscles? How could I have so quickly forgotten the passage we studied this morning?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. I John 3:16

Here was an opportunity to lay down my life, my agenda, my desire for solitude and rest and come together with a beloved body of believers and intercede for the needs of the church.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! I John 3:1

all these people ...

In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. Matthew 18:14

My heart was cold and my attention distracted through the first song we sang as part of the worship time. Slowly, however, the Lord warmed my heart the way the afternoon sun had warmed my body. And then we sang Everlasting God. Surely this song was selected just for me, by the Almighty God who knew I was weary and tired and facing a full week of homeschooling and difficult parenting.

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary
You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

I may grow tired and worn, spending my pathetically small reserves of faith and grace, but the Lord — He who created the sunshine and the beauty of this world, who is eternal and unchanging — won’t grow weary. He promises to be my strength and salvation.

I don’t need to be strong — I can rest in His strength and continue laying down my life, knowing it is safe and secure in His hands.

Project 365 – Days 255 & 256

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Programming with Turtles

This week we finally resumed our Home-school Cooperative; and there was much rejoicing.

During the school year (although the semesters seem to get shorter and shorter) we join with about 150 other home-schooled kids for a day of elective classes. The kids get a chance to learn some things their parents don’t know, and to build some good friendships, while the parents (mostly moms) enjoy considerable fellowship and camaraderie as well. Kathy particularly appreciates the chance to swing by the espresso stand, “since we’re on the way.”

And of course, everyone likes recess.

Our five kids look forward to Co-op with great excitement, and mourn the end of each semester deeply. Personally, I think they cherish an educational experience they can come home and tell stories about, something their mom and siblings don’t already know. Besides, who wouldn’t want to star in a Drama production, or explore a course mysteriously named, ‘For Boys Only’?

Richard Coldheart and his nemesis
Personally, I’d take the class just for the mustache.

This year, I agreed to teach a Programming class, arranging permission with my boss to take some time off during the day. “How hard can it be?” I blithely asked Kathy. “I’ve been programming for more than 15 years, I oughta be able to teach this stuff in my sleep!” Kathy was strangely silent about how hard, exactly, it could be, having taught a few co-op classes herself. In any case, I have long wanted an opportunity to teach my kids a little about what I do … it doesn’t seem right to me, as a programmer, that none of my children know an ‘if’ from an ‘else’.

Those summer months passed like one of those vending-machine packages of Oreos (only six cookies), and I found myself less than a week away from the first day of class without a syllabus, course outline, or any substantive idea of what I’d be teaching. To make matters worse, I found that I was competing with ‘Backyard Ballistics’ during the same hour! I alternated between desperately hoping students would choose my class and, er, hoping that they wouldn’t sign up and I could get credit for having offered without actually having to teach.

The Celebrated Grandma Honey's Class
One very popular class last year was Grandma Honey’s offering for Kindergarten through 3rd grades.

Twelve kids showed up for class, the youngest 10, the oldest 17. I had managed to throw together a syllabus and a course outline the night before, and so I launched into my first-day lecture. About 10 minutes into the period, Kathy came in and sat down at one of the empty tables … and brought with her a strong sense of being scrutinized and evaluated. I almost couldn’t continue, unable to articulate any coherent thought, as every idea took flight from my skull, except this one:

“Arrggh! Kathy’s listening to me, and she’s going to shake her head pityingly, saying, ‘Do you really think these kids are interested in any of that stuff?’”

We discovered early in our marriage that discussion of my work, especially anything to do with relational databases, is a sure-fire cure for insomnia. “Tell me about your work,” Kathy asks sleepily as she snuggles in. While I prattle on about the details of my job, she sighs contentedly and drifts off into sweet slumber, often right in the middle of a good anecdote about PL/SQL errors or a tale of associative arrays! Sometimes I go ahead and finish the story, finding myself, even as the story-teller, deeply engrossed in the suspenseful narrative.

The kids seemed attentive, though, and I made it through the first class period without being lynched. I am using (at least at first) a variant of the Logo language that involves giving commands to cute little turtles as they roam around on a canvas, drawing designs.

I don’t have much experience with a lecture-style presentation — nearly all of the teaching I do at work or at church is inductive, requiring a high degree of discussion and participation from those in attendance. I think next week I’ll try to have more questions or some other way to encourage participation — I find that I can’t keep spouting out ideas, but rather that I need time to think of what I’ll say next.

rachel's dear friends
Rachel really wishes these friends were in co-op this year.

When we got home, my oldest son (who was press-ganged into the class, along with two of his siblings) immediately started working on the homework assignment I gave, and seems to be having a lot of fun with it. I asked him to come down and do the dishes last night, but he craftily played on my soft geek heart, pleading, “Dad, my turtles, they need me!”

What’s a programmer Dad to do? “Just ten minutes,” I growled. It’s nice to be needed, even by turtles.

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Three Princesses and the Pea

In the original story, there was one princess, up to 20 mattresses, and a single pea. In our little tale, there are three princesses, one mattress and nary a legume in sight. We do have lots of blankets, books, and giggles.

here they are

Sarah and the girls snuggle in for bedtime. Notice Tarah’s smile.

Rachel was invited to a birthday sleepover this weekend. We were offered Adam (the birthday girl’s brother) in exchange for Rachel. I figured that was a good beginning and so I bargained (I’m quite the savvy shopper) for the youngest sister of the birthday girl as well. Now we were starting to get some where. A phone call or two later and I had managed to snag another 5 year old. In the end, the older sisters all went off to the birthday party and the younger girls came here.

Rachel, having learned from prior Princess Parties, tucked the ladder to her top bunk in my closet. Hmmm. I wonder if she really thinks that will stop 3 persistent princesses, one of whom is already an accomplished gymnast. We’ll see.

giggles galore

Sarah giggles, Elise tries to look serious and Tarah continues to smile pretty.

Daniel, David and Adam are happily (and quietly) settled in their cozy den of pillows and sleeping bags. The girls, on the other hand, have been calling for the past 30 minutes, claiming to be scared. Of spiders.

“The bwack and gwey ones are da worse,” one of the royal members informed me as I tried to scoot her to the other edge of the bed. “I can’t go over dere, spiders might come up otta the hole.”

How can you argue with that logic. I told her to stuff a blanket up against the wall, prayed with them, and turned up the Donut Man cd as I sprinted out into the hall. They were nicely settled in until one of them decided to go to the bathroom. Sure enough, all three girls decided to use the facilities together.

It’s going to be a long night and an early morning. :)

we're silly

Throughout it all, Tarah maintains her perfect, picture ready, smile.

Now to see that they actually go to sleep. Then I can work on finding an appropriate collection of princes.

Project 365 – Day 264

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